Getting ready for NaNoWriMo

I haven’t decided if I’m going to participate in National Novel Writing Month this year.  Well, I know a 50,000 word month would be really good for me, just like it was great for me last year.  I have a TON of work left on Impervious and getting 50,000 words of it done would be great, but I’d also like to get 50,000 words of Unstoppable (the third book of the series) done as well.  It is something of a conundrum right now.

Still, in November I want to try and kick out 50,000 words of something.  To that end, in the months leading up, I’m going to try getting used to writing at least 1000 words a day.  1000 words can actually happen pretty easy; an hour if I’m really on my game.  If I’m not on my game though, it can take up to two, even two and a half hours to actually finish.  My writing tends to go a lot smoother, though, if I write every night, or nearly every night, so that the story stays fresh in my head.  Getting going from a cold start like pushing a car up a steep hill.  In the winter.  And you just happen to be dead at the time.

Last week I did pretty well, writing most nights and getting at least something down.  I averaged about 500 words a night last week, which is alright for a start.  I got distracted from Impervious by  Edge of December by quite a while, but now I’m back in the groove and I think I can make some really solid progress before November.  Now, I don’t think I can have a second draft done by then, because, HO-LEE CRAP, there is a lot of work to do.  I’m hoping my third draft will be easier.  Then after that I’ll have to have an actual editor look it over before I ever even consider putting it out in the world for people to read.  You know what, I’m not even going to think about it for now.   For tonight, I’ve written my thousand words (and then some) and any night that I can do that I’m going to count as a solid win!  One more step to getting this book published!

Sometime this week, I’ll write up another blog post on my Big Plans for Impervious and its two sequels, including the first reveal of the series name, which Ravven made me come up with.  Until then, everyone enjoy the last of the weekend.


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.


Edge of December Volume 3 out now!

It's been a while in the making, but we released the third volume in the Edge of December series just a couple days ago! We had some technical difficulties, but we're up and running now with part two of the Naccisti saga. This volume also contains a special short story, Assigning Blame, written by yours truly. It covers the period of time that Baron spent wondering the world and is the first part in a series of stories that I'll be writing.

Go check it out in the Amazon.com Kindle store. What? You don't know what Edge of December is? Check out the webcomic then, or better yet, buy Volume 1 and Volume 2. For those of you with Nooks, please be patient, we're working on getting into the other eBook stores.

 


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.