AROW80 Check-In for 1/14/2015

I’ve started doing some typing! And I’ve been reading up on writing short stories, focusing mainly on structuring shorter fiction since for the last few years I’ve been working on writing longer works.  And…I’m not sure if this is a revision to my goals or a logical continuation from them but, well, here goes:

In the course of my readings, I stumbled across an article at Karen Woodward’s blog: How To Publish 52 Short Stories And 10 Collections Per Year, which outlines a plan devised by  Dean Wesley Smith in a post at his blog, called The New World of Publishing: Helping Readers Find Your Work.  The plan is based on making your stories more visible by publishing one short story per week (approximately 5,000 words) to Amazon.com. Then, bundling five weeks’ worth of stories into a collection for a slightly higher price point. The idea being that then, you have 52 stories and 10 collections in a year. And, if all goes well, by having a goodly number of works out on the market, you’ll be earning a tidy sum and building name recognition.

Granted, there are some givens here — you need to be writing good stories, plus you need to be able to produce professional looking books that are properly described and keyworded, etc.

I’ve been mulling this article around and around in my head for the last few days, ever since I originally read the article and…I think I would like to try it. Not immediately, since I don’t have any stories ready for sale, but I think this is something I would like to work toward. But, it brings up a question that I would like to put forward to the group: would it be better for a first-time writer, such as myself, to attempt to go the self-publishing route or to try for traditional publishing or would a combination of the two be better?  

I realize, this question/these questions are of a highly subjective nature but any and all thoughts and advice would be appreciated.

If I do attempt self-publishing, particularly along the lines of Dean Wesley Smith, I want to start off with a backlog of stories (my magic number is at least 13 — i.e. a quarter of a year). Of course, this would probably *also* be a goodly number of stories to have for sending out to traditional markets too, And, writing 13 stories should be a good, concrete way to build up the writing habit.

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AROW80 First Quarter Check-In: 1/7/2015

I’m back for another round! I inadvertently took a posting break last round, though I have still been working on my writing (which I’m pretty proud of, since all too often I have a tendency to get all ramped up and go like gangbusters and then, once the energy fades, I stop working).

This time around, I’m starting off with one simple goal for the month of January: finish a short story. The good news is, I have three or four stories that I’ve started, all set in the same fictional universe. What I need to work on is a) typing up what I’ve got done (since I do most of my writing by hand, my drafts can end up chaotic with sticky notes and extra pages inserted for changes and such), and b) finishing a story completely. From beginning to end.

Of course, it doesn’t help that last night, having determined that today would be the day I would sit down and start typing, I managed to cut up one of my fingertips so now I have one bandaged finger that is somewhat slowing me down — but I think I’ll get used to it with some work (and it sure as heck beats the alternative!).

In the plus column, it helps that I have an idea of how I want the story to turn out — and I like writing in the universe it’s set in.

Goals for February and March are as yet to be determined — and are dependent on me meeting my goal this month.

Other goal for this week is staying warm as the weather outside is frickin’ cold and looks to be staying that way until next week.

Hope you’re all having a good first week of the first round!

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Final Check-In for Round 4 — December 24, 2015

I hope everybody is having a very happy holiday season! Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Joyous Kwanzaa! Happy New Year!  And otherwise, just hope y’all are having a good end of the year.

I…have no idea how well I did on Nano this year. I didn’t keep track of how many words I wrote but I did write quite a bit. Mostly in the Gem City ‘verse. I started off with like, parts of two stories and I’m now sitting on parts of four or five stories! Plus, I’ve done some more work on fleshing out the world, which makes me happy.

I’ve also been doing a lot of research/brain stuffing in the form of reading comic books and comics-related science and philosophy books (Science of Superheroes and Science of Supervillains and Spider-Man and Philosophy, among others).   Which has been fun.

Also, for Christmas, the girlfriend and I got the complete 1960s Batman TV series from her mom. Oh, the cheese! The glorious, glorious, glorious cheese! It even came with a little toy Bat-mobile!

I’m going to keep writing during the break — eventually, I want to corral myself into typing up the stuff I have written, why I’m procrastinating about it, I do not know. Plans for next year are still forming in the back of my mind.

Again, hope you guys have a great holiday season and good luck in your endeavors!

PS: Saw Big Hero Six and it was the best movie I’ve seen in a long, long time.  Highly recommend. Made me cry (duh, Pixar movie); jealous of the storytelling.

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AROW80 Update for November 5, 2014 + WIPpet

It is cold and wet and rainy and very much November here. I haven’t been writing as much as I wanted to for the first few days of this month — combination of work and lack of oomph — but I got a bit written last night and I’m planning on working on some more tonight and hoping to get close to a goal of 10,0002 words by tonight.

I’m working on a short story set in my Gem City (aka Reverse Batman) universe. From my original post on the idea:

A story about a Reverse Batman-type character — his parents were supervillains in the 1960 who were killed by a rogue hero and because of this, he now works as a private detective doing things like keeping superheroes accountable and such.  He’s also the guy you call when you want to serve divorce papers on The Thing.

The plot is that Will Cartwright, private investigator and owner of QC Investigations, has been hired by his college friend Kylie (aka Wildheart) to help clear her father, the hero Howler, from a murder charge. This scene is Will arriving at the 247th precinct to talk to the detectives investigating the crime.

Detective Sergeant Luna Bastigan was at her desk when I arrived. She looked at me like I was the first plague rat off the boat. She was a short, stocky woman who looked like a cross between a bulldog and a fireplug. She’d come up through the ranks of the GCPD, making detective almost as soon as she was able. She shook her head and leaned back from her keyboard to study me.

 

“Should have known you’d be here sooner or later, Cartwright,” she said. “Let me guess, Howler’s girl hired you to clear her Daddy’s name?”

 

“Close; she calls him Pop-pop,” I said. “She’s pretty convinced that he’s innocent. She’s got a theory and I have to say, it’s got some merit to it.”

 

Bastigan snorted. “I’m sure it does,” she said. “Problem is, she’s not a witness and she’s got a vested interest in lying through her fake little fangs to protect her-“ she snorted. “Pop-pop. Whereas on the other side, I’ve got at least five witnesses willing to swear that Howler did it, was glad he did it and would have done it again if he could have.”

 

“And none of them have any vested interests?” I asked. “C’mon, Bastigan, ‘innocent until proven guilty’ remember?”

 

“Don’t try to school me, Cartwright,” she said. “I know my job. Problem is, the Third Coast Crusaders have a hell of a lot of pull in this town and Tyler Rose is the top of that particular heap. It’s more than just an investigation; it’s a political freaking nightmare.”

There’s more about the Gem City ‘verse here: The Semi-Quasi-Mostly Official Handbook to the Gem City Universe 

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AROW80 update for 10/29/2014 + Nanowrimo Plans and Schemes

I have finished typing up the last of what I’ve got written (so far) for Defcon: Fade Out and the grand total is 145,247 words. Which blows me away but would make me a lot happier if it was one solid cohesive story. Instead, I’m pretty sure what I’m looking at is actually two separate books — or at least two separate stories that are related by a common thread.  Since the inspiration for this series is cheesy men’s adventure novels from the 1980s and those books did sometimes do “doubles” (i.e. two books in one) I might have this book be one of those.  I have to ponder the plan for this a bit more, but I’m fairly confident I can make it work.  Once again, it comes down to a question of figuring out where the gaps are and writing the bits to fill in those gaps.

Nanowrimo Plans:

I’d originally planned to use Nanowrimo to help fill in the gaps. The original plan was to have things typed up and the inventory done by the first of November. This isn’t going to happen, mainly because I don’t want to half-ass the work trying to get it done over the next two days and I want to hit the ground running come November 1st.

And, to be blunt about it, I need a break from Defcon: Fade Out. I’ve been working on it more or less steadily for a few years now and it’s time for a vacation. So, I’m taking the month of November off and working on something else.

Once again, I’m taking the Nanowrimo Rebel approach to the month. In my case, I’m not going to be working on a novel, I’m going to be working on some short stories. So, call it NaShoStoWriMo instead. The idea is still to try and write 50,000 words but instead of them being one novel, I’m hoping to get at least three or four stories out of the endeavor. I’m using the following word count categories from the SFWA as my guidelines:

  • Short story: less than 7.500 words
  • Novelette: at least 7,500 – 17,500 words
  • Novella: 17,500 – 40,000 words

I’m hoping to keep things within the novelette category. The plan is to make myself work on writing shorter pieces with an eye toward improving my writing’s tightness and my writing speed.  Toward that end and in keeping with the whole Nano-Rebel thing, I’ve actually already started working on one story. It’s an expansion on an idea that I posted a snippet of back in December of last year (it’s the second one in this post).

I have three other story ideas that I want to work on. Another one is set in the Gem City superhero universe, one in the Defcon universe and one that takes place in the Butcher’s Bill vampire hunting universe.  Going with the 50,000 total word goal, that gives me an average of about 12,500 words per story but the ultimate word count would be whatever is needed to finish the story.

Part of the reason for this interest in short stories is to work on finishing a complete story and another reason is to work on trying to get some things ready to submit for publication. One of the things I want to work on for 2015 is submitting something for publication. Toward that end, I’ve picked up a copy of the 2015 Writer’s Digest Novel and Short Story Writer’s Market as a way of encouraging/goading myself onward.

Come December, I’m going to start working on turning Defcon: Fade Out into that elusive goal: a finished piece. I’m also going to take another look at my old attempt at writing a Butcher’s Bill novel.

So, fingers crossed and here goes something!

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AROW80 Check-In for 10/15/2014 (posted on 10/16)

Current Word Count: 127,852 words (as of 10/16/2014 0102)

I signed up for Nanowrimo 2014. Once again, I’m planning on using it as a chance to fill in gaps and create a cohesive story. If y’all are looking for a writing buddy, I’m at dunmurderin.

Plans for the Week:  Just keep typing, just keep typing. I’ve got a dozen or so scenes that were written out on loose-leaf paper that I’m typing up so that I have everything in one spot and can organize from there. A goodly chunk is going to end up pared off and probably recycled into other stories set in this ‘verse.

Latest Movies Seen: On Monday, we went to see Gone Girl with the girlfriend’s mom and all I’m going to say about the movie is that it was AMAZING! Which is about all I can say about the movie for fear of spoiling. Ok, no, there’s one other thing I can say: the cat in the movie, is adorable. There’s just something about an orange marmalade cat.

Tuesday, we went and saw Dracula: Untold — and all I can say about that movie is if you want to see it, wait for it to go to the discount theaters or to show up at Redbox or on Netflix. Because while it wasn’t terrible, it wasn’t good either. On the other hand, if you like a good, cheesy movie, this is a good cheesy movie.

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AROW80 4th Quarter Check-In: 10/8/2014

Goals for this Round – which are some of my goals from last time around, rewritten and/or adapted for continued use:

  1. Finish typing up DEFCON: FADE OUT: I’ve been working on this and have managed to type up everything I had in both of my notebooks. Now, I’m working on the extra scenes that I’ve written over the last month or so. I’m expecting to finish off with a grand total of around 137,000 words (more or less).
  2. Create a cohesive manuscript:Last round, I figured I had about 3/4th of a story set down for Defcon: Fade Out. I’m still fairly confident that this is the case. The problem is, I don’t have an ending and I’m not really sure about my beginning. The middle feels fairly strong – or at least complete. I also keep running plots and motives through my head and have been jumping from idea to idea to idea to idea.

At its heart, the plot of Defcon: Fade Out focuses on a murder and I’ve been trying to figure out a good, solid motive for the murder. It’s less a question of not having an idea versus being spoiled for choice. So, once everything is typed up and printed out, my plan is to go through the extra bits of the manuscript and start trimming bits away to get to the heart of the story I want to tell. Then, it’s going to be time to outline a nice, tight outline.

One of my goals for November is to use Nanowrimo to write the missing and/or necessary scenes to fill out the manuscript and make it into a cohesive whole. It’s still going to need editing after that but at least this will put me closer to having something that is editable and not just a collection of scenes still needing to be linked together.

  1. As a secondary goal, I want to try and come up with ideas for shorter stories. Ok, this goal is more or less unchanged from last round and amounts to this: This is a blatant attempt on my part to try and produce some potentially marketable fiction with an aim toward making some money. Not a lot, just enough for me to be able to say “I wrote this and I got paid for it!”

The good news is, I’ve got an idea for a shorter piece to set in the Defcon ‘Verse and I’ve been noodling around with ideas for stories set in other story ‘verses.

  1. Be better about checking in with folks. Back at the beginning of Round Three, I lamented the fact that I let checking in with other folks fall by the wayside and intended on checking in with others with more regularity. By the end of Round Three, I’d more or less stopped checking in with my own blog so, yeah, that was one ball that was well and truly dropped. I’m going to work on being better about keeping hold of it this time around.

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Achievement Unlocked: 100,000 words!

With the secondary achievement of ‘tired and sore arms’ also reached!

Goal Achieved: 100,000 words typed as of 10/01/2014 on Defcon: Fade Out manuscript

Typing Goal of 100,000 words for Defcon: Fade Out achieved!

Seriously, I managed to make it to 100,000 words today but it was a bit of a slog. My hands were/are like, “Aren’t we there *yet*”

I’ve still got about 25-30,000 words left to type up, plus some untold number left to write to fill in the gaps but for now, I have hit a goal and I am happy!

So, about the typing…

Today was my day off and I had to get up early to get some stuff done (early for me being around 930 in the morning) and ended up staying up and figuring “Hey, why not get an early start on the typing?” So, I did just that.

I started off at 88,228 words and I have ended the day at 96,667 words for a grand total of 8,439 words typed over the course of the day.

Suffice to say, I’m in a good position to get everything typed up by the end of October. So, YAY!