Sunday, October 30, 2011

Q: Are We Not Writers? A: We Are Storytellers!

I am going to whip NaNoWriMo. I'm going to pound it into little word-goo chunks, pulverize the chunks, set the resultant dust of fire, cackling gleefully all the while. I'm going to make NaNo my bitch; leash, collar, lotion in basket, and all. Hoo-ah.

Nothing like a little self-confidence pump-up to get the day started.

Halloween is tomorrow, I'm very excited, the little one is going as a certain priggish English train. I, of course, shall be a conductor. Because I already have overalls and a train hat, and I'm lazy. I was thinking of making a hat out of dollar bills and going as a banker, but it would need hundreds rather than ones to really be accurate. Not gonna happen.

Reached an all time record of 24 stories in submissions a few days ago. I think I'm getting close to a sale, my writing has improved and my storytelling has gotten much better. I also am on track to hit my goal of at least 100 rejections by the end of the year.

I finished a new novelette, kind of a magical SF romance call Furious Fusion Fist. There isn't a paying market for the story that i can see, so I will likely put it out myself. I have a few other stories that have made the rounds and not sold, so ditto for those. Maybe.

Other goals--write, edit and pub a short novel by the end of the year. NaNo  will take care of the writing, December will be for edits and pubbing. December will also be for pubbing FFF and whatever else I decide. I want to have a larger availability by X-mas, to try and catch some of the new readers that get devices as presents.

The Day-Off Short Story Challenge is suspended until after NaNo. I'll be busy enough, I think. I wrote a story on my last day off, though, I think it's number ten. So that challenge has been quite productive for me, much more so than my daily writing goals. Which, to be honest, I haven't been coming anywhere near hitting for at least a month.

I don't know if it's writer fatigue, or just slowing down and thinking more, or life getting in the way, but I definitely haven't been as productive lately. Word count wise, that is. I have done a lot of editing/rewriting on older stories lately. I hate to do it but they needed help. Probably not as productive as just writing new stuff that's better, but I like those stories and want them to be as good as they can be.

I feel a lot of (self-inflicted) pressure to be more productive, especially in long-form fiction, so I hope NaNo helps. I really, really need to  finish a novel. Then a few more. Short fiction is great for experimentation, for learning basic craft and for gaining confidence, but the market just isn't as big as for novels. It's bigger than it used to be, but still. Novels are where it's at.

Next week I'll give updates on my NaNo progress, and whatever else is going on.

Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

I Have No Time, and I Must Blog

The title is a riff on Harlan Ellison's classic story, of course. The story actually has nothing to do with this blog, but the title sure is spiffy. Bait and switch folks, bait and switch.

Down to business--I have been wracking my brains for a way to continue blogging without having to carve any time out of my increasingly overgrown wild-ass jungle of a schedule. But I think I have at last found a solution. But first, I want to illustrate more fully the problem.

I have learned a few things in the last six months of on-again, off-again blogging. Daily blogging is a lot of work and a big time sink when added up. Especially when, for the most part, people don't give a hoot anyway. People do seem to love technology and gadget reviews, which are my most popular (only popular) posts. The writing exploration stuff, not so much.

The blogs that I enjoy, and that are popular, tend to feature regular doses of useful information, some news, some analysis. So maybe emulating them, to the best of my limited resources, is the way to go. Makes sense, no?

The solution--I am going to try blogging once a week (with the option to do more when so moved) on Sunday mornings when I have a chunk of time I am currently using for web-surfing and general baby-tending. Content will stay the same, but subject to change if I find things that people show more interest in. Okay? Okay.

In a very small attempt to provide some sliver of content that is not completely about myself, I will note that I have been reading George R R Martin's A Dance With Dragons. I am greatly enjoying it (about 10% in), but am struck by how large a role food plays. Every other paragraph is a meal description of some sort. I really wish someone (else) would do a statistical analysis of how much of the book is actually food and food related words, and how much shorter it would be if those words were removed. would it be only nine hundred pages? Eight hundred? I wish I knew.

See you next week.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Quarterly report Numero Two

Quick update on how the writing "plan" is going.

Completed novels - None. Still not getting traction on long form fiction. I did make it into novella territory with one novel. I am going to do NaNoWriMo next month, with a goal of 2k a day. So maybe I will be close to finishing a novel for real in December.

Completed short stories - Basically about 24. A few of those are still in editing, but they are basically done. That is twice what I had finished last quarter, so I am doing a good job there, staying on track. I credit the day off story challenge for really helping with momentum. I have a number of partials as well, and a ton of idea bank treatments.

Other stuff - I have been voice recording less, mainly because I have been writing less overall. Yep, stopping the blog to have more time to write did nothing to help my production. Several days spent futzing with typewriters haven't helped. Also, I seem to be writing slower since Dillocon. More thought going into what I'm writing means a longer time to finish. I'm hoping I pick back up as I internalize all the stuff I've been learning. Nearly everything I'm writing is shorter now, too. Funny, that.

Sales - None. I just put a new cover on Tes-Nin to see if that helps get any sales, as well as bumping the price on Smashwords up to .99 cents. I have just shy of 100 free downloads in two months, so I am not really worried that I will be losing exposure. Whether I sell some now or not, the real deal is that I need to get more stuff up. But...

Submissions - I have sixteen stories in submissions now. Nearly everything I have that is finished and edited. Some of those stories are coming up on five or six rejections, so I am contemplating putting them up myself. If I can keep writing new stuff to sub, I will have to put the old stuff up, since I will already have something in with every market already.

Questions - I am not sure I'm not completely wasting my time subbing to paying markets instead of just putting my stories up myself. If I had a longer backlist or more time writing I wouldn't have to make that choice. I really need to get a better business plan going this quarter, x-mas is going to be huge for new ereader sales. Also, was I doing better just writing and pushing ahead? I've been doing a lot of revision lately, time which might be better spent on new stuff. Hopefully I will have more progress to report on at the end of next quarter.