A Writing Year In Review: 2015

Ah, another November, another writing year complete.

What was accomplished this year?  A lot less than I was hoping for.  In fact, this was a year full of frustrations.  I went in feeling like I was on the tipping point of Getting Somewhere.  And I am Not Really Anywhere At All Special.

Which is not to say that I went backwards.  I didn’t do that, despite feeling like I did.  It’s actually very hard to move backwards in writing.  Several novels are a lot longer and have a much more focused direction than when I started.   And I did accomplish my goal of getting more editing done. I completed drafts of a novel, a novella, and a short story.  None of which accomplished what I want (the novel especially, though now that it’s bust, I have finally realized what I actually need to do to fix it, which involves basically turning it into a novella).

But writing is ever a process.  Even if one work doesn’t do what you want it to, you learn in the process of doing what does and doesn’t work.  I’ve had a couple of near misses on a work that’s actually rather old at this point.  I have hope that means I can stop missing with something that’s a little more recent.  Next year, we try some more daring stuff and if we end up fast first in failure, well, at least the effort will have been made.

As for Nano, same rules as last year.  Most of my focus will try to be on Itzie and Rodney’s second novel, but anything that’s officially on the project list may get worked on this November.  After the October I had, I feel like that’s a more than fair.


White Rabbit: Topaz Edition

HAPPY WRITING NEW YEAR! Er, well, yesterday.

You will not be seeing me again until December.  I can pretty much say that with certainty, given my track record of blogs and the fact that, well, you know. Nano.

Anyway, last year was generally a success. The goal was four major projects and I accomplished three major projects and one short story. And since I never write short stories, I’m counting that as a success. As well as editing one novel and completing first drafts of two others, I slapped down words on a whole bunch of projects. I had Plot Wars with two novels when I realized what I was writing was not part of those novels, but those battles have been resolved with a new direction for said two novels and thoughts for pursuing later books in the series. Over all, a fairly productive writing year.

The goal for this next writing year is going to be getting a lot of things edited and get a number of things to the point where I wouldn’t be ashamed if the public read them. I’ll likely try expanding on this next month.

So, what am I doing for Nano this year? Which project am I tackling?

Any of them that I want. I have a list of ‘active’ projects and I am allowed to add words to any of them. I am not allowed to write random scenes that aren’t part of anything and I’m strongly discouraged from jumping around chronologically. I have the Crowned Act listed on my Nano page and that is tentatively the one I will be focusing on most. However, any of my major projects are allowable, so that I end with 50k new words on my projects by the end of the month.

Anyway, this blog is wasting words I could be putting on my Nano! I had best go put my nose to the grindstone. Or. Get brunch. One of the two.

White Rabbit: Opal Edition

Pppppppt, September.  Let me sum up my feelings of the month thusly.

Accomplished little visible last month, all told. Did not get my editing done. Did not do much in terms of word count. Scraped by, which is never a great feeling. Mostly, it was a month of scribbling. It was the equivalent of an artist sitting down with a sketchbook and just doodling whatever. Sometimes it’s a necessary, but when you’re sitting there surrounded by scenes that aren’t attached to anything and may never be, it doesn’t feel productive.

Still, did get a draft of a short story done, so I’m rounding that up to four projects for the year, thus completing that goal. While I don’t feel good about September, it was a rough month on other fronts and I did get some good work out of it at the end of things.

So now we’re sliding through October and the question of what the hell do I want to write for Nano next month? Here are the big contenders that are on my radar at this early point in the month, though I make no promises that I won’t go sheering off into a whole new and unexplored territory, probably on October 31st.

The Crowned Act
The sequel to the Collared Act. Burlesque clubs, out of place slaves, foreign royals, and language fuckery.
Advantages: The first was a blast to write and kept getting words tacked on every time I turned around.
Disadvantages: I… don’t actually have much plot? It’s always been a character-centric work, so much of the plot will come out of how characters clash and bounce off of each other. May throw in some multiple homicides, those fix everything in novels, right? Don’t answer that.

Untitled Itzie and Rodney Sequel
A gay necromancer and a seven foot tall lizard woman continue their friendship. May involve vampires, fairies, zombies, murder sprees, and one undead cat. Or may not.
Advantages: Banter. Banterbanterbanterbanter. It’s easy to get these two chattering at each other, which keeps the words flowing on the page. Also continue to have good thoughts about the future for this series. It’s fun and less weird than some of my other stuff, while still carrying its own unique accent marks.
Disadvantages: The plot is starting to come together, but is still pretty loose at this point. This is one where I’m worried I’ve got too many things trying to be crammed into one book. On the one hand, I can always triage the plot AFTER I’ve managed 50k words. On the other hand, I’m trying to work on writing tighter drafts the first time around. So I’d really rather NOT. But hey, however the novel gets written.

Gay BDSM smut with consensual magical mind control interspersed with magical detective agency shenanigans. Or maybe vice-versa?
Advantages: This one’s on my mind currently, I’ve been hammering out the plot, and I’m pretty sure I can do something with it when it’s done.
Disadvantages: So I spent last night hammering out the details of one of the mysteries, because I have made a new rule for myself where I’m not allowed to do any murder mysteries unless I KNOW who did it. And I actually succeeded! Got the basic shape down, I know where the twists are, and damn, it looks like it’ll be a good mystery! Aaaaand then this morning, I realized that thematically, it’s completely inappropriate for the first book. And yes, I am aware how nerdy it is to be concerned with theme in a work that is one half gay smut. The point still stands and the upshot is that plot. Once again, I have to build that up out of nowhere.

Dragon Bride
Knights, dragons, and unexpected gayness because the princess decided to go have her own adventure. Intended to be novella, but who knows.
Advantages: Few expectations exist for this work, so I can write a little wild. I’m going for a shorter work, so in theory, I could get the entire thing done in a month, provided I don’t unexpectedly spawn a monster. A promise which I am not making.
Disadvantages: Few expectations exist for this work, so I don’t really have a plot. WHY IS PLOT SO IMPORTANT TO THINGS? UGH, YOU WOULD THINK IT WAS THE BACKBONE OF ALL STORIES OR SOMETHING.

Anyway, those are the major works that I’m looking at. There’s a few other works that might get on that list, but these are, as of today, the big contenders. For the rest of this month, the plan is to try and get some edits done, get my word count to a more respectable average than its been so that I’m not out of practice when November hits, and maybe, just maybe blog more than once a month.

Next month is out though, I have traveling for family to do.

White Rabbit: Sapphire Edition

So yeah. August. That happened.

Completely failed my tentative word goal, in fact, didn’t even manage to hit 30k for the month (which is my generally prescribed ‘minimum.’) But, you know, over all? Not actually feeling bad. Seeing as how I. Well. Sort of accidentally finished two novels in August. Very much by accident in one case. Once again, what I thought was going to be one novel ended up being two, but at least I noticed before I was halfway through the second. But hey, I’m no longer dreadfully behind on my goal of four projects this year.

So here are the two projects I finished this month:

The Collared Act
A complete surprise, started in December and finished at 79863 words. I was not expecting this one to happen or actually become finished. But damn, it was just a blast to write. On the light side of novel for word count right now, but since I thought I had another half again as much to write, there are several places that can be expanded and fleshed out in subsequent drafts and I plan to get to said drafts before too long. The downside of this one is that I have no idea how to market it. It’s a character centered story about a gay slave who ends up working at a burlesque style theater with psychics, oh, and there is no romance or sex. Obvious selling points? Lacking. Thus, how to find a market? No clue. And none of this has stopped me from taking off and writing the second book, which is now in progress and growing steadily. Yup.

Phoenix and Wolf
Started for Nano last year, finished at 127578 words. And it is a big, ugly rambling mess of a novel. I hit the end and realized that there were two dramatic reveals I was saving that should have happened far sooner in the novel. There’s a glut of needless scenes and exposition, we end up in the library at least two times too many, and I failed to properly explore a lot of the elements which make the actual novel neat. So, while it is a draft that I can declare finished, it’s really not viable and the work that is needed to make it viable will come more in the form of fresh writing rather than editing. Because of all this, and the fact that I’ve got other novels that seem to be going much better, this one will be put on the back burner for a while. I plan to revive it at some point, but have no idea what point that will be.

Plans for this month? Unsure, not bothering with a word count goal since I can’t seem to keep them lately. I am, however, trying to get done another draft of the Cat That Wouldn’t Die. After some of my earlier mishaps with other novels, I’m not confident that I haven’t left some major issues in the draft, especially after reducing its length by a solid fifth.

After that, well, we’ll see what happens.

White Rabbit: Pearl Edition


By which I really mean, got the first draft of The Cat That Wouldn’t Die finished.  That is to say, I got all the way to the end and have now circled around for draft 2.5 in which I fix the beginning because I’ve realized it’s a mess. Still, its progress, real and definite progress.  Now cleaning up the intro again and debating what to do with the book in question.  Also trying to decide if I want to pick up one of my novellas/longish stories and see about a second draft.  Haven’t decided, probably won’t decide until July at any rate.

So, anyway, that’s ONE project down out of my intended four.  At this point in time, finishing short stories will even count, I don’t care so long as I finish things.  Because, yes, you guessed it, I picked up at least one more project last month.  Yeup.  That happened. 

And so, to help along my many projects that are not getting finished, I’m going for 1500 words a day (on average) in June, for a total of 45000 words by the end of the month.  Not any specific project, but a good solid chunk of words to get things closer to finished.  I’d really like to put a lot of those words towards Phoenix and Wolf, but we’ll see what happens with that stupidly long sprawl of a story in which little happens.

Still, at least for today, I’m not feeling terrible about my state of writing.  Too many projects, slow progress, lots of frustration.  At the same time, progress has been made and I don’t feel terrible about the things I have been writing.  Well, another month done, another to go.  Let’s see what June brings.