My Writing In 2014

Well 2014 wasn’t my greatest writing year ever, although compared to some years where I didn’t write anything I suppose it was still pretty good.

I started the year trying to revise the Sovereignty manuscript, which ended in miserable failure. After a lot of fiddling, I still couldn’t figure out the story I wanted to tell and basically realized I needed to start over. By June I had hit rock bottom, so to speak.

Then I tried writing something new in July’s Camp NaNoWriMo. It started well, but then things got really crazy at work and it derailed everything. After August, I ended up with about ten thousand words of a short story called Moving Day, but it still needs work.

In September and October, my biggest writing accomplishment was a series of episode reviews of the television show Continuum.

Then came NaNoWriMo in November and things got somewhat back on track. Apparently I completely failed to blog about it, but I successfully completed 50,000 words to win the event, however I have not yet successfully finished the novel since I have only completed about 10,000 more words since November 30. The novel is a post-apocalyptic adventure, currently dubbed Raccoon Mountain. I am still plugging away on that manuscript, a few hundred words at a time, trying to find the story. (I started with little or no plan for it.)

And that’s where we are at the start of 2015. Depressingly no closer to sending manuscripts to publishers. But I feel like I’m zeroing in on “my process,” for whatever that’s worth.

The Killing, Season One

Why didn’t anyone warn me about this show?

Don’t start watching The Killing unless you’re willing to put in the time to finish the entire thing in one sitting. Because it’s really addicting.

And in case you’re thinking you can get away with just watching one season at a time: The murder is not resolved at the end of the first season. The story just keeps right on going into the second season.

I’m writing this paragraph to avoid spoilers, but my full thoughts are way down below: I had an idea of who the murderer might be after four or five episodes, based on my award-winning strategy of “picking the least plausible person it could possibly be.” Through the whole first season I was more and more convinced I was going to be right, because they never showed anything that directly refuted my theory. Once, it was close, but I can think of a way to explain it. At least until they arrested that dude in the last episode of season one. But then some evidence surfaced that made me think my theory could still be plausible, so I’m sticking with it as I start watching season two.

In many ways, The Killing is a stereotypical cop show. It’s got the cop obsessed with finding the murderer at the expense of her family. It’s got the victim’s family coping with the loss of their daughter and the morbid depictions of how a victim’s body gets back to the family after the crime. It’s got the cop who went too far undercover and got hooked on drugs. It’s got the crusty police lieutenants. It’s got the city hall with their political agendas that are more important than the truth.

But somehow it’s still a compelling show.

Continue reading The Killing, Season One

Two Days In A Row

I’ve written about 1200 words a day for two days in a row. That may not sound like much, but it makes me feel like a rock star.

I’m working on adding the middle part that goes between the beginning and ending of Moving Day. I couldn’t just leave it hanging the way it was. (Also I did some brainstorming and came up with some neat ideas for it.)

It’s sort of morphed from a science fiction story to… I don’t know… horror? But not the frightening kind of horror. It’s like the later-era Stephen King kind of horror that is really more of a plain story with some external supernatural forces that put characters into conflict, but it still gets labeled horror because he’s Stephen King. I’m not sure what you’d call that. “Fiction” I guess.

August Writing Update

With August coming to an end I thought I would release another writing update. Being temporarily unemployed (which I prefer to think of as a short sabbatical), this is the first month in forever (aka. 2000-ish) where I have had nothing but time to write. So you would think that I would have written tons of stuff, particularly when I’ve had this ongoing crazy notion that I should someday get paid for writing.

Alas not so much.

Being unemployed isn’t as easy as you might think. First there is the problem of maintaining some kind of schedule. For me, this is fairly important, because I tend to flop around like a fish out of water if I don’t have a routine. I still have to eat, sleep, and occasionally take a shower, but without the structural certainty of a 9-to-5 job, I tend to forget about things like that while I’m focused on whatever I happen to be focused on.

I have to devote some time toward a backup plan in case someone doesn’t walk up and hand me ten million dollars. I have a finite amount of money, and it will run out one day, and I need a plan to deal with that, no matter how annoying the prospect might be. So I spend a portion of most days looking for boring old 9-to-5 jobs. And it takes a surprising amount of time to sift through a bunch of web sites.

I also spend time looking for part-time or freelance work that I can do from home, which would serve to extend the length of my sabbatical from 9-to-5 work. This also takes a surprising amount of time combing through web sites, sending emails, sending applications, setting up profiles, etc.

also have to build in some non-working down time. When you work from home, it is very easy to fall into a trap of working all the time. I’ve already experienced this in August. I’ll be busily tapping away at my keyboard, lost in what I’m doing, and then I’ll notice that my eyes are tired and my back hurts and it’s 10:00 at night. So I try not to do anything that uses creative energy before 8 am or after 6 pm. (He says, writing this paragraph at 6:41 pm.)

Despite all that, I’ve done some writing this month.

I sort-of wrapped up what was going to be my July novel Moving Day. I really like the first ~4000 words that I wrote at the beginning of July, and I like the final ~3000-word sort-of climax that I just wrote. The problem is that there is nothing in between the two. I suspect this story is destined to become a short story at or below 10,000 words. I just need to figure out some way to connect the beginning to the ending.

I wrote and continue to revise a series of non-fiction “re-watch” articles for the television show Continuum, which is currently my favorite genre show. As of now it is somewhere close to 15,000 words of material covering the first season, including screenshots. I sent a query to Tor.com to see if they were interested in publishing it, but so far I haven’t heard anything back, which makes me think they aren’t interested. It was a terribly-written query upon reflection. Or maybe they’re just more into Under The Dome than real science fiction. Zing!

I have written a handful of blog posts here and elsewhere, of which this is one.

I’ve done a bit of work revising my Kubak Outpost manuscript, which I personally think is my strongest manuscript to date. Or at least it’s the one that I keep returning to think about. My revisions are focused on cutting down the number of points of view from five or six to two or three.

July Camp NaNo Results

I suppose I should finally reveal the results of my July Camp NaNoWriMo experiment: Total failure.

I was doing all right until things at work took a turn for the stressful, and then it became impossible to write in the evenings. I’m sure you can imagine that it’s hard to be creative when you’re totally drained.

I tried to set myself up for success anyway, by changing my target word count from 50,000 to 15,000. (You can do that in the summer NaNoWriMos.) That goal was well within reach until things at work took a turn for the even-more-stressful and exhausting on top of it. So I wimped out and gave up. I ended up completing a little over 10,000 words.

I’m still hoping to write at least the final scene, which would complete the basic framework. As it turned out, I don’t think the story is deep enough for a full-length novel anyway.

I now have tons of time for writing, but with my day-to-day routine thrown upside down I’m having a hard time scheduling it.

Incidentally the working title for the story is Moving Day, and it is about a man who is transported to a parallel universe.

After finishing up that story I think I will try to work on revisions again.

This would be a great time for someone to approach me about freelance writing work, by the way. :)