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.

 


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!


25k month update

Wish I had better news for you guys this time around, but we're at July 24th now, with seven days left and I'm only at 12k words. I officially have 1 week left to get 13k words done….which means writing 2,000 words a day, consistently for the next seven days. The odds aren't exactly in my favor, but I think I still chance of making it.

That being said, my words for tonight are better spent on Impervious and Edge than on a blog no one is actually following. Thus, away I go to return next week and tell you how it all worked out. Later!


Writers Block and the smashing thereof

Bleh. So, here we are ten days into my 25k word writing challenge and I've barely gotten 2k written. The reason? First off, after not writing for so long its incredibly hard to put down the video game controller and actually get back to work. Half of why I was doing so well in previous months was that I was writing on an almost nightly basis, regular as clockwork. I had words and those words wanted to escape from my brain through my fingers. For the past couple months those words have been building up and have found their way out via other outlets…mostly though killing lots and lots of demons in Diablo 3. The words don't get out…exactly, but the brain is distracted through the gaining of levels and the finding of loot. Its one of the reasons that I've sworn off MMO's.

Another problem with taking such a long break is that most of the details and flow of story that used to be right at the front of my brain has faded completely into the background. I figured all I'd have to do is read the last few chapters that I'd written and I'd be able to just pick up where I left off, easy as falling down. Nope.

I realize now this is exactly what happened to City of the Sorcerers. I'd get an awesome idea, work like crazy and write a chapter or two. I'd burn through the words, excited that I was finally getting it done, but then I'd hit a block and stop. I'd stop for a week, or a month as I tried to figure something out. I wouldn't write, telling myself that I couldn't write until I'd figured things out and could go on. But by the time I'd figure things out, I'd lose the flow, or whatever you want to call it. And eventually, I just decided to put the story on hiatus until I could figure everything out, because I had more interesting projects to work on.

Was that a mistake? I don't know, maybe? Its hard to say it was because, until recently, Impervious was coming along so dang smooth. Until I stopped writing it. And now I've got that feeling that I felt so often with CoS. The difference this time is that I'm not going to table it. I've got sixteen chapters written so far; the first act of the story is almost done. There's too much done, to shelve it and say, move to a different project. There is but one thing to do. Ahem…

SETH SMASH!!!


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!