Archive: Writing

Re-learning How to Think (About Writing)

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008

Yikes! It’s September and I never posted my “Writing Update” for July. I’ve been busy, and one of the things I’ve been busy doing is taking Holly Lisle‘s new online course: How to Think Sideways. I’m really enjoying the course, and I’m amazed at how well some of the techniques are working for me.

The first section of the course is all about ideas. If you write anything like me, sometimes you get ideas that seem to almost write themselves. In my case a lot of these had themes of objects that seemed to pop up in multiple otherwise unrelated stories. One of the first things I got out of this course was a much fuller understanding of what this means, how to map out the things that set off my imagination, and how to use this understanding to tap into story ideas in a more “on demand” fashion. It’s like finally having the address for that P.O. Box in Schenectady.

One of my biggest problem with ideas is that I do get a lot of them ((That is too a problem! Trust me.)) . More that I possibly have time to write ((Although if someone wants to fund my early retirement I’d be willing to give it a go!)) . Sometimes I get pretty far into turning the idea into a story before I realize that it’s not as great as I thought, or it’s just not for me. One of the biggest things I’ve taken away from the course is how to figure these things out quickly, and well in advance. This lesson came with four versions of the proposal for her novel Talyn, three as examples of what not to do, and the version that sold to Tor (that’s about 150 pages of examples for one lesson).

The second section (which I’m getting into now) is about planning. What to plan. What not to plan. How to avoid over-planning. How to plan and still allow things to grow organically. This is something I’ve struggled with over numerous short stories and three novels, and I welcome any help in making sense of my experiences.

Invitation Only Limited Time Offer!

The first run of this course (300 seats) sold out fast. Holly has opened up sign ups between now and September 8th, at 9am EDT on an invitation only basis. If it’s sounds at all interesting, consider yourself invited.

I’m a MINER

Friday, August 29th, 2008

I’m incredibly excited to announce that I’m now an official contributor to MINE. MINE, a pop-culture blog that digs a bit deeper, is the brain child of author/podcaster JC Hutchins, and I’m honored to listed amongst all the other great folks on board.

MINE is your one-stop shop for entertainment news, crazy rumors, Internet memes, whimsical news bites, music, gossip … you name it. We’ve amassed a small army of savvy, slightly-snarky writers — we call them “MINERS” — dedicated to extracting the most fun and interesting stuff from the webscape.

We dig bubblegum pop, video games, TV, podcasts and vidcasts, rock ‘n roll and R&B, movies (if they’ve got fireballs and giant robots, we’re so there), celeb gossip, nutty YouTube videos, the list goes on. Like you, our interests are all over the place, and we’re gunning to be the first online place you visit for the fantastical, fascinating and frivolous.

So far I’ve MINED up something truly evil, and truly awesome, and some incredible new software that will let you walk through your photos. I hope you’ll enjoy my contributions, and be sure to check out all the great content MINE has to offer.

Writing Updates: June 2008

Tuesday, July 8th, 2008

Here we go again. By now you should know the drill. I wonder where the time went, then blab on about my writing this month. I think I’ve been letting these posts take on too much weight so I’m going to try and breeze through this one ((If you notice any glaring mistakes, please let me know)) . I apologize for the lack of variety in my postings, but I’ve been using what free time I can on my writing.

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Writing Updates: May 2008

Saturday, June 7th, 2008

June is here, so it’s time to post my monthly writing update ((Yes, June has been here for some time, but it was June 1 when I started this post. That tidbit serves as a preview for how June is going so far.)). My concerted effort to try to hit at least 550 words a day in May paid off, and I often found myself blowing past 1000 words some days when things really got going. I was able to build good momentum that carried me from day-to-day ((I also made a conscious effort to follow my own advice.)).

I managed at least 13,697 words this month. I’m not sure what the exact number is because I’ve become accustomed to pulling my totals from my twitter archive and I found that a few tweets I thought had gone out either didn’t or were lost ((Just to be clear, I don’t blame twitter for my own carelessness.)). Even without my full number of words I did better this month than last, and that’s what matters. Of course, since I finished the big project, the question now is “What’s next?”

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Novel Snippet

Tuesday, May 27th, 2008

I’m going to be leaving my latest novel draft to sit for a while, but a good number of people cheered me along so I thought I’d toss out a small snippet in case anyone is interested in reading it.

Be warned: It’s rough, this is not my greatest work, and possibly not even a good example ((I’m currently too close to this one to be in any way objective at this point.)). Also it shows at least one quirk of my early drafts that may be a deal breaker for some folks.. When I’m writing along and I come across a character ((Or a place, or race of strange creatures, or a new flavor of pie. Pretty much any noun.)) that I’ve yet to name, I just pick a word ((Usually a word that describes who they are, or what they’re doing in the first scene they appear)) and place it in brackets ([ ]). I do this because I’ve found stopping to decide on a name can kill my momentum deader than dead. Also, as I have developed rather strict language rules for this world I can’t just pull something out of thin air. So even though the second guard is a major character throughout the novel, so far I know him only as [Driver], because when he showed up, that’s what he was doing.

So, if after all that you still want to read it, I hope you enjoy it.

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Well that’s done

Thursday, May 22nd, 2008
WIP Novel
First Draft
97,778/97,778 words

Just a quick post to note that yesterday I finally typed “THE END” on the first draft of this latest novel. I’ll post about it in more detail soon, but I wanted to thank all the folks who offered encouragement and support throughout the process. You know who you are. I’d list you all, but I’m sure I’d leave someone out ((and I’m already running late this morning)) (but if you can always list yourselves by leaving comments).

Writing Updates: April 2008

Thursday, May 1st, 2008

May already? I feel like I just posted one of these. Sorry for the lack of other content around here, but I’ve been pretty much spending any and all time I carved out to write on the novel. How did I do on the “write every day” front? Well, I missed two days in April: my eldest daughter’s birthday, and my wife’s birthday. I’m happy to excuse myself in those cases ((thereby avoiding the feeling I let myself down, which can derail things if I let it.)).

I cranked out 12,926 words, making April an improvement on last month. While I did miss two days I was more consistent in my output I’m pretty sure this comes down to having a daily goal of 550 words, which I didn’t always make, but it seemed to work better than “some words”. Read on for the breakdown

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Writing Updates: March 2008

Saturday, April 5th, 2008

March was not a great month for me. I got pretty sick, and on March 24th I was too out of it to write. But I did manage to go eighty three days straight without missing a day. I’ve also been working long hours, which caused me to somehow miss another day as well. I’m still not feeling 100%, but I’m getting there. I wrote 11,781 words this month, making it my worst so far this year.

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Writing Updates: February 2008

Sunday, March 2nd, 2008

Another month gone by all ready? Yikes!

I made it all the way through the month without missing a day of writing, which if you remember my plan from last month means I didn’t have any weeks were I wrote more than five thousand words. I did write 14,732 words this month though, which is a few hundred more than last month.

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Writing Updates: January 2008

Thursday, January 31st, 2008

I’m going to strive to be a bit more transparent about my writing this year. It’s something I have a hard time with, which might date back years to when I learned answering “What do you want to be when you grow up?” with “Be a computer programmer” seemed to be a more acceptable answer to most people than “Be a writer”. So to start I’m going to talk about the past month, and provide a bit of an info dump into what I think the future holds.

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