Feels good!

I don’t know why its so damn hard to write some nights.  Really, its just sitting my butt down in my comfy foof chair, and starting to type.  That’s not actually hard.  Its very easy, in fact!  Plus, I always feel awesome after I’ve done it.  Any length of time, any word count, doesn’t matter.  It feels great to make any sort of progress on any of the stories that I’m working on.

Ugh… So, yeah.  My word count this month, sucks pretty hard.  I suppose Phoenix Comicon is partially to blame for taking almost a week away from me.  I went with high hopes of doing some writing at night, even brought some of the chapters with me that I’m in the process of reworking for the second draft of Impervious.  That plan DID NOT survive first contact with the enemy, and by enemy I mean Con.  Writing may feel great, and be easy once I actually start doing it, but, good grief, does working a Con ever take it out of you.  Anything that wasn’t sitting and moving as little as possible was a Herculean task.  Any way, I got behind, and so far I’ve stayed behind.

That ends tonight though.  I just got done writing over 800 words, which aside from a blog post the other week, is the most I’ve done all month.  My goal, is to crack 10,000 this month, with most of that being on the second draft of Impervious.  Actual writing.  Not outlining, or character description, or plotting but actual new material.  Really, for as long as I’ve been working on that I’ve gotten not enough done.  I want the third draft done by the end of the year, which means I’ve really got to get serious.  If only I had all the bits of WordKeeper working that I wanted working, I’d be able to tell exactly how many words I had to write to get it done on time.  Ah well, that’s weekend work.  Writing is for week nights!

Alright.  Short post this week, but there it is.  I’m back writing, and I want 10,000 words of Impervious done by the end of the month.  Can I do it?  Stay tuned to find out.


Writing Weekend!

Yeah, so my last post was a little heavy handed. I'd apologize, but honestly I'd like to start doing some more posts like that. Things that are more than just status updates, posts about what I'm reading and writing. Every now and again, just talking about things like that seems like I'm taking the easy route. I should be taking advantage of this soap box and telling you all what I think about EVERYTHING! That would probably be a little more interesting than the status quo, right? That and more pictures. Maybe some kittens? People on the internet like kittens. Maybe I'll do a top ten list sometime. The internet also seems to like those.

What can I say? I'm willing to caper and dance for a few more hits to justify my existence.

That being said, I'm not doing any of that tonight. Tonight its a pure puff and status update. First off, I just got done reading Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson. I wish I was half as good at weaving a story as that man. Ok, maybe I really wish I was just as good or better, but if I were half as good I'd still probably be three times the author I am now. If you haven't read Way of Kings, Words of Radiance or other Sanderson books, you really should. He's pretty much THE guy in Epic Fantasy. Of course, you'll also need to set aside a solid chunk of time, since when he sets about writing a book, his actual goal is to depopulate a forest with his mighty tomes. Words of Radiance clocked in at over a thousand pages and Way of Kings was longer (I think).

After I finished, I spent the next hour just lying in bed thinking about all the sh*t that happened in the last hundred pages and how big a deal it was, within the world. <spoiler>NIGHTBLOOD!!!1! OMG!</spoiler> That should be vague enough that I shouldn't anger anyone.

Work on WordKeeperAlpha continues. I think that I've finally got the main page squared away, save for a few details. The new graphing method works great and should be easily extendable to other graphs as I think them up or they're requested. I've decided to roll the Projects functionality into the Progress page, which lessens the pages I have to make by 1, but increases the difficulty of that page to finish. The good news is that once that's done, WordKeeperAlpha will pretty much be ready to replace the old one.

Thanks to the judicious use of vacation time and a federal holiday, I have a four day weekend starting tomorrow. I intend to use it to catch up on some of the writing that I've been neglecting over the past week. WordKeepers stats are telling me that I've been slacking off way too much, so my goal is to get my average words per day up to 500 by the end of the month. That means either a busy weekend or a busy end of the month. Or more! Either way, I intend to get a chunk or two of Impervious done.

Right now, I'm in one of my favoritest pubs, drinking a tasty cider and have gotten two different character profiles done since arriving. I love writing in pubs, but its a little more expensive than my normal Panera Bread haunt. I'll be moving there tomorrow to get things done. The only thing better than the pastries is free refills of iced tea.

I think that about covers the status update for this week. I have no idea when I'll get around to another meaty post again. Probably the next time that something ticks me off. I'm looking at you FCC.


Quick site updates

I know they don’t look the best yet, but I’ve put out a couple quick updates to the site. ‘Projects’ is now Stories and will be where I keep everyone up to date on what I’m writing and how far along it is. I’ll also be putting up a ‘Read the first chapter’ bit on certain items when time permits.

I’ve also added a new ‘Free Stories‘ that will feature tidbits that I want to share. These will be things that I might put up on the Amazon store as an option for people to buy after they try, so to speak. We’ll see how it works. For now, what I just finished for a submission this weekend – The Hard Truth. Let me know what you think!

It’s a bit slap-dash and could use some styling, but life is a bit busy right now.  I’ll get around to making them look nice in a few days, after the move.


WordKeeperAlpha 2.0 development continues

Some of you may be familiar with my little side project WordKeeperAlpha, but I'm not going to assume a whole lot. If not, its a tool I created, and am creating, for authors to keep track of their writing habits. One of the most important thing about writing books is, duh, writing, and doing that on a regular basis. The idea behind WordKeeper is that you will be able to see your writing habits graphed out over time, set goals and meet them. In theory, this will help you write more and get your story done quicker.

The first, and current version of WordKeeper is certainly a first effort, and handy enough for one of its original purposes: setting goals and seeing your progress along them. The graphing function is a complete hopeless cause using code that was largely aped from a tutorial and poorly done. The design is … well, designed by me, which is to say primary colors largely favoring blue and not much else. In other words, while I was pretty proud of it last year, this year I'm a little embarrassed by it.

Which is why I'm working on WordKeeperAlpha 2.0! This is pretty much a complete redesign of the original that I'm rebuilding from the ground up. I didn't really want to, but sometimes when something is broke you just have to replace it. Granted, I'm using a lot of lessons I learned from the first go around on 2.0, but I'm still having to redo pretty much everything.

This time around I'm using Twitter Bootstrap, which any designer will find blatantly obvious. I'm also incorporating several new bits and pieces, such as more jQuery, a different approach to security that actually lets me do the 'Remember Me' functionality, which is nice. Instead of just doing things, I'm focusing as much as I can on doing them right. Fast loading times, less load on the server and all the UI sense I can bring to bear. Like I said when I was making the original, I'm not a designer, but I try to get by and beg the forgiveness of my betters.

The charting part of WKA 2.0 will be handled by some software designed just for the purpose of charting, HighCharts, which makes the whole process much easier, and MUCH better looking. Currently I'm trying out a few different charting options, seeing what makes the most sense to include initially and what doesn't work so well. For example, the day by day chart is pretty good, but looks a little cramped in a full month view. A year by year chart will be needed eventually, but since I have all of 21 registered users, half of which are friends and family just checking it out (thanks Dad), isn't really needed. Five years down the road, it'll be a neat thing to look at.

Another big thing that I'm adding in 2.0 is Projects. While its nice to know that you wrote 1300 words yesterday, I think it will be handy to know what you wrote these words on. Are you blogging way more than you write on your books? Are you neglecting your blog by the numbers? You'll be able to see this reflected in the graphs and set word goals by projects and define sub-goals. It'll be pretty spiffy when its all done.

And there will finally be some Twitter and Facebook integration, and an 'author page' that you can share with friends and fans so that they can see your progress, what you're working on and maybe give you encouragement or berate you for taking the last week off to play XBox.

There's tons to do yet before I'm ready to take 2.0 live, but if you'd like to see an example click here. Once 2.0 is live, WKA should be ready for prime time and hopefully will start commanding a larger user base. The goal is for it not only to help ME be more productive in writing but also to make enough money to support my eventual writing career. We'll see if either of those things happen.

Longer term plans call for WKA 3.0, which will be professionally redesigned and have an even broader set of features, possibly even more social integration. That is years off though; a far off goal. Still, I'm really looking forward to showing all of you 2.0 when its ready to go live sometime much later in the year. There's a LOT of work left to do on it, and WKA is still a secondary goal to finishing Impervious (which I've been working on tonight). Tomorrow I'll update this with a few screen shots from the demo I have set up, just to add a little color to this wall of text. Now, its time to hit the sack. Later.

 


Time to get started … again.

Hello every one. Well, the holiday break is over and its time to get started on my goals for this year. Before we get to that, I'm happy to report that I got plenty of work done on WordKeeper; finishing design on several new form elements, partially working out what I want to do with the social aspect and getting started on the actual code that will make the whole thing run. It's still got a ways to go before its ready to see daylight, but when it does it will be pretty awesome. The initial release was alwasy intended to be something more of an alpha version anyway; just me tossing ideas at a wall and seeing what worked and what didn't. This will be much closer to what I wanted to do and then some. Granted, my design work leaves a lot to be desired, but I'm hoping that it will be functional more than anything else.

If this version of WordKeeper works, and I can actually manage to get it a little traction with a good user base, I've got long term plans for a version 3.0 where I get a professional designer to tackle the user interface, produce some actual artwork and assetts for me. Right now though? I'm a LONG ways away from being able to afford something like that.

Today I'm taking for my first official writing day of the year. I'm putting my story from NaNoWriMo on the back burner for the time being, while I focus on getting the second draft of Impervious done and work on the writing for Edge of December. My big goal for the year is to finish Impervious and get it to a point where I can either self-publish or start sending it off to publishers. I've got a lot to do with it before then, so its time to get working.

This year I also want to do some additional short story work, maybe try another couple submissions or even try putting something up on WattPad and start getting my name out there a little more. Last year was a great year, but I still wasn't as productive as I wanted to be. That being said, I'm going to focus on building what I started last year and really pushing myself to do more. Video games are great and all, but they aren't getting me anywhere closer to my goals, so I'm going to try limiting my time spent playing some more, making sure that I do my writing every night before I let myself start playing. And yes, I know that these are all things that I've said before, and will probably say again, but as long as I'm trying, I think I'll be doing a pretty good job.

In blog news, you should be seeing things change around here sooner or later as I get a little style actually injected into this poor old beast. I need to get something up besides the default WordPress theme up, and I'm happy to say that should be happening pretty soon. If all goes well, I should have a space up for posting stories that I've been wanting to share, and maybe a few other things. I'm looking forward to 2014 being a really good year. Who wants to tag along?