Fourth Quarter Can Kiss My

Last year was a bad year for blogging and I’m not sure this one will be any better.  It should be better, but we’ll see.  I’ve got a lot of novels to get done first.

Health:
2015:
Well, I had one emergency room visit that was sadly expensive and also ended completely unresolved.  The issue hasn’t reoccurred and it did galvanize me to get off my ass and get myself a physical.  Everything came back fine, though my weight is on the heavy side.  I don’t feel badly overweight, but if you run the ‘you are this height and age’ numbers, I am apparently a lot of overweight.  Which triggers doctors to inform me of all of this exercising I’m apparently not doing, never mind the fact that I walk five miles four times a week minimum.  Which they never asked about.  I blame a lot of this on the town, which has an obsessive attitude for health and fitness.

For 2016:
No real goals for health next year.  I should eat better, this is a goal I should work on, but I’m also aware that I probably won’t.  I like eating, I like eating certain kinds of foods that are objectively crap.  And also, it’s really hard to get good produce out here, which is a lot of what I really need to eat healthier.

Wealth:
2015:
No diversifying of monetary streams and I am still making shitty wages.  I am getting by, but it’s not great.

For 2016:
Need to ask for a raise or get a new job.  Not excited about these prospects, either of them.  Let’s move on, because this one just sucks.

Love:
2015:
So you know how last year I said I was apparently dating someone for like, five, ten years?  We got married this summer.  So far, it hasn’t really changed much except we make a lot of ‘you married that’ jokes.  The biggest benefit of being married so far is that it is no longer weird for my spouse to buy me pants and I am so down with that.

Expanding love to include family and friends, things were a little rough on this front.  Lost a grandmother and that was rough.  Now that I am married, have to figure out how to split the holidays and integrate the families and that’s been… complicated.  Not bad, but complicated. Families are great, but logistics alone are a pain in the ass, even with all the love and support in the world.

For 2016:
Still making sure I don’t buy maine coons.  Waiting patiently for when life can move forward again and we’re not stuck somewhere we’re not fond of.  Getting there.  Getting closer.

Prosperity:
2015:
It doesn’t feel like I accomplished anything, but I did.  Close calls aren’t enough to make it from, but eventually one of those will resolve.  I keep telling myself that.  It doesn’t help much with the frustration, but it keeps me trying.

For 2016:
Keep on keeping on.  Keep on writing, keep on editing, keeping throwing myself off of the metaphorical cliff until I get there.

Resolutions:
I kept none of last year’s resolutions and am not making any this year.

Well, okay, here’s one.  I resolve to get a post nano write up before next nano.

There, I have done it, I have resolved.  Go team.  See you next year.

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The Problems of Writing Slave Characters While Staying Consent Conscious

Character A: *legally a slave* I find it both really hot and really terrifying when you play with my collar.
Character B: *Love interest, not a slave* I find your inability to give genuine and uncomplicated consent due to your social status a huge turn off.
Character A: Oh god damnit, I am never getting laid, I am I? 8|

And that is your mid-month update of how my writing has been going.

The (Mostly) Post Nano Blitz

So I’ve been sitting around, trying to figure out why my goals are now that Nano is wrapping up. (Not actually done, but only a thousand words and all evening to do that, with the promise of sake at the end.) I’ve got a handful of things I want to tackle next year, including getting better at editing, continuing to finish things, getting something published (even self pub’d), and a project that will hopefully get more activity up in the blog.

But before all of that, I’m thinking about what I want to do in December. Just December. I don’t want to set a big word count goal, as A) Just did one and B) Holidays, fuck them. But I will feel better if I give myself some sort of goal and it gets me in the habit of aiming for things to accomplish. Plus, I have one really clear goal that should have been accomplished already and has not been.

The goal? Finish spot checking the first few chapters Itzie and Rodney’s novel, then start tossing it at agents/publishers.

However, I’ve got some mixed feelings on this goal. I mean, obviously, I am doing it. It is the Next Step In the Process. However, this means I’m going to be tossing this bad boy around in the post Nano blitz, where well intentioned and gleeful writers throw their unpolished manuscript at every agent, publishing house, and editor in the area.

The Pros: The novel has actually been revised! Maybe it’ll get some notice as standing out against all of those other novels, like a polished diamond amongst river rocks. A shining gem of decent grammar and minimal typos, fully fleshed and a delight after reading so many raw, bleeding manuscripts.

The Cons: My novel will be one in a sea of slush that editors will have to slog through to find. When they get to my novel, they are guaranteed to be cynical already. They will hate everything. Does my novel have the ability and skill to overcome that level of hatred? Does anything?

Anyway, those are my brief editing thoughts this evening. Back to the grind. *Salutes*

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.

Thrall
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: Peridot Edition

So I had three goals this month.  And.  I occurs to me that technically, I failed ALL of them!

Major Goal: Begin submitting The Cat That Wouldn’t Die to agents.
Novel is completely ready to submit, I didn’t actually submit it anywhere, I realized. I think at some point, I forgot the goal was to actually start submitting and had it recorded in my head as ‘have ready for submission this month, including all required edits and accessories.’ And I succeeded in that! I have a query letter, synopsis, fully edited novel… I just didn’t actually throw it at anyone. Threw something else at a thing, however, so I don’t actually feel failed.

Minor Goal:  38750 words, or 1250 words per day.
Ehhhh, ended up with around 30k words this last month. So, failed my word count. Most disappointed about this failure, but there were reasons. Focus became a struggle one week, another week I took easy because of my birthday, and then another week I fucked up my hand with inexplicable bruising (FUN TIMES). So, there were reasons my word count wasn’t what I wanted, though logic has nothing on Writer’s Guilt.

Most Minor Goal: Complete Phoenix and Wolf.
So, yeah, I only added about 4k to this project. And the whole thing keeps sliding sideways on me when I jump in to try and tack more words to it. Either I keep forgetting plot points I mean to bring up or it just takes off somewhere else entirely. In general, I’m feeling like this project is not really where I want it to be. There’s a lot of elements that I included, but never did as much with as I wanted to and I kept fucking ending up in the library in the story. Three fucking times, the book goes to the library AND ONLY ONE OF THESE IS PLOT SIGNIFICANT. So, long rant short, there’s a lot of edits in this book’s future, if it has a future at all.

Anyway, that was last month. Moving on to this month! Plans! Goals! Dreams!

…Yeah, I got nothing.

Tentatively going for my 38750 word goal that failed last month, but not feeling good about it since this month has started out rather weak. Not that I can’t recover and recover easily at this point, it is the third fucking day of the month. But my hopes right now are low and I have a few things I’m flipping out at. We’ll see what, if anything, comes of them when I report in next month.

And hell, maybe I’ll blog more than twice this month. THAT would be something to see, wouldn’t it?

White Rabbit: Emerald Edition

Well, we are now at the halfway point of my writing year, which means I ought to have two major projects done to be on track. I have… zero. Yup. Progress, I am not feeling so good about it. April was a difficult month because of Uncontrollable Life Things happening, following a March that was similarly not good for focus. So all of my projects, though they’ve moved places, don’t feel like actual progress that I can hold in my hand.

In fact, if anything, I feel like I’ve taken a step backwards. I mentioned, at the start of last month, that I was uncertain whether I should continue submitting Trask or put more work into it. The answer, as I knew it would be, is more work, because at the least, the novel isn’t in a place where I want to publish it. So it feels like I’m back where I was two years ago, with nothing to shop around with agents and a lot of unfinished stories staring at me.

But the writing career is not an escalator. It doesn’t go in one direction and there’s no falling off that lands you back on the ground floor where you started with nothing to show for yourself. If we’re looking for a good metaphor for a writing career, let’s go with Shoots and Ladders, only there is no end goal, just a lot of looping pathways. I’ve spent a lot of time in the last few years writing, learning how to put together a story, a scene, a character arc. I’m not going to lose that knowledge because I’m not throwing a subpar novel at uninterested agents. The only way I can actually lose ground is to plug my ears and ignore the flaws in my work. Or give up entirely. Waiting on a step is not the same as giving up.

Agents, you will be hearing from me again.

No, that’s not a threat. Or, well, maybe it is, eh, EH?!

White Rabbit: Diamond Edition

I have nothing good to say about my writing during the month of March.

I am suspicious that this is one of those cases where I’m being much harder on myself than I have any right or reason to be.  It doesn’t change the fact that I don’t feel good about my progress during March.

Editing has been happening, but at a much, much slower pace than I want it to be going. I want to cut a lot of words (a fifth, all told) out of my current draft of the novel.  I cut what looks like a sizable chunk from the novel and my word count doesn’t drop nearly as much as I want.  I’m almost a hundred pages in with editing and I’ve barely chipped away any of this monster novel.

For generating new material, I have too many projects.  I keep jumping from one to the other and while technically this is forward progress, I feel stagnate.  Feeling stagnate makes me want to start something new.  To shake the paradigm.  Or, it makes me want to finish something.  Unfortunately, nothing is in a place where its close to finishing.  Everything is somewhere in the murky middle and many of my projects are at a place where I want to have a moment of focus before I tackle the next bit.

Focus has not been something easy as of late.

Let’s not even talk about how submissions have been going.

 

So, whining is fine and dandy, but I’m a little sick of it.  Instead, have a game plan for what I’m going to do about all of this melancholia.

New Writing:  Time to start tracking word count more closely, including keeping an eye on the growth of different projects on a monthly basis.  Since I’ve got so many projects, it’s easy to feel like I’m getting nowhere on any of them, like I’m spinning my wheels.  And maybe I am, but I’ve been generating a lot of words, so you would think that SOME of those novels would be farther along than when I started.  I’m even sure that they are.  I just can’t see where.  So, time to keep better track.  I know that word count is not the only indicator of a book’s progress as it is really, really easy to slap down many words that have little to no impact on the final version.   I am terrible for meandering and getting distracted on my way to the final plot.  However, since I usually only have a rough idea of what my final destination is with any given work, I don’t have another good way to track progress than with word count.  We use the tools we have.

Editing:  Finish the edits I marked out for myself on the Cat novel.  This draft has some large structural changes that need to happen yet and it’s hard to really say what’s necessary and what’s not until after those shifts have been made.  Even if I don’t cut the novel down as much as I want this draft, there will be future drafts.  And, frankly, even if, in its final and ultimate form, it’s long for its genre, I don’t really care.  Because at its heart, I am proud of this novel.  It is, or will be, a novel I always wanted to read.  Even if I can’t take it the ‘traditional’ route for whatever reasons, I’ll do something with this one.  After a few (dozen?) rounds of editing.

Submissions: This is the area that I’m most unsure of right now.  I grow more displeased with Trask’s novel as time passes.  I need to have a sit down with it and reconsider a lot of what it is and what it’s doing.  More and more, I think I haven’t been as daring with the story as I need to.  The plot is fine, the characters are great, but I need to take the setting to its limits and then off the other end.  That’s what feels right and that’s feels lacking at this time.  But the question is, do I keep throwing the novel at agents in hopes that I’m wrong or do I table the hunt for now and wait until I’ve got something new to toss around?  I don’t have an answer at this time and little bandwidth to consider the question.  Maybe I’ll know better next month.