November Update: NaNoWriMo

Ugh, this is only the third post this year. I would start with some big, philosophical heartfelt communication about writing and creativity and discipline, but I think that’s mainly what the other two were. I’m tired of doing that (though I bet this post shifts toward that in the end).

So here is where we are.

FayTown Calling continues. Writing progress is painfully slow, mainly due to inconsistency. It’s been a busy year, my job, wife’s nursing school, the progeny, blah, blah, blah. Look, if you have read this blog at all, you know I’m busy and that’s why the second novel still hasn’t come out. All those things are true (though my wife is now officially done with school and I COULD NOT BE PROUDER!!!) but it’s real easy to use life as an excuse. I wish I could say all my free time was going toward writing, but it’s not.

I can find time, it’s just about discipline.

So, here’s how I’m going to deal with that. The keyword of the month is accountability. It’s embarrassing for me to be writing a post like this again, with publication still well over the horizon, but it’s a lot easier to do it when it’s only the third time this year, and that’s exactly why I’ve done it that way. It’s much easier to come on here and throw up a post with a bad status update every few months, vs keeping a daily tally.

Part of the original function of my blogging, and the website in general, was to serve as a log, so that I could record progress and make that information available to any who might be interested. High level, it’s a lot harder for me to not write if I am making said lack of writing a matter of public record.

Which sucks, but accountability usually does.

It being November, a month well known in our circles as National Novel Writing Month (an event I have always wanted to participate in), I thought it would be the best time to start with this.

So this post will go up roughly two in the morning on Nov. 1st (something like that, not sure how Daylight Savings will affect it) and my goal will be to write sometime Sunday. But whatever I do, or don’t do, there will be an update by tomorrow night. That will continue, these updates. Can’t guarantee they’ll be long, whether I’ve done a lot or not, but it’ll help in forming the habit and keep this on my radar.

All of this is intended on finishing out the month with a solid draft of FayTown Calling. I can’t even say where it is right now, but I know I’ve got some work to do. If I don’t finish, I’ll keep going.

Every day.

That’s a big promise, one I am very uncomfortable making. Not even really sure how I’m going to do it. Work hasn’t gotten slower, and all of the things I’ve referenced keep going, plus the holidays. But that’s my goal and I’m going to do everything I can to get as close to it as possible.

So here comes the philosophy damnit. I’ve used this before, and I don’t know that the attribution is correct, but it hangs over my computer at work and it’s one of the most important things I’ve ever heard. I’d rather fail trying to succeed, than keep ignoring this and let this continue to slip by.

“The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.” – Michelangelo

FayTown Calling is only the second Virgil book, and I have at least five other stories for him planned. A few of those, I know probably aren’t even sequential, that is, I know they are later in Virgil’s story and there will be other books I haven’t thought of yet beforehand. There are scenes I have thought of for years that I don’t even know where they fall, characters waiting to be created, villians ready to rise, and a world ready to be explored.

I don’t want to always be getting around to it.

So I’ll end with this.

See you tomorrow.

One Year of Being Published

My mother in law reads this blog (she’ll get a kick out of this), so I can’t use the expletives I wanted to when I realized what day it was.

One year ago, I clicked submit and began funneling Sorcerer Rising through the process of being published on Amazon through KDP. That was a big friggin’ day for me. I spent the night prior polishing and getting things ready, then spent that Sunday writing out six and a half thousand words (a record for me until a couple months ago). That was one of my best writing sessions, those words went into the book with almost no editing and are a couple of my favorite scenes in the whole book.

I spent Sunday night in a state of panic and euphoria, waking up throughout the night to search for the book on Amazon. I did that probably a dozen times between midnight and six. I dreamed, literally, that the book was selling thousands of copies.

Finally, around six or so, it was live.

I sold nine copies that first day. I’ve sold around eight-hundred since, making about $1,200. Not a lot, but not a bad start either.

This started out as one of those posts I hate. You know, the ones where the blogger/author/whatever comes on after a month of silences and says, “Hey, still alive, I swear.” They’re never fun. They usually signal the end of whatever enterprise the website is centered around, a lot of times because the Creative in questions has gotten bored, lost interest, been discouraged, etc.

That’s not the case here.

I know I haven’t been on the blog in a little while, and I haven’t updated anyone on the second book or anything else. That is a failure on my part and your patience is greatly appreciated. I am going to do better on that, both in updating and in actually writing.

So, for a quick update, I am extremely behind where I thought I was going to be by this time of the year. I had originally conceived of having FayTown Calling out in May, with the third on its way out by the end of the year. That has, if you go through my history, steadily crawled later and later into the 2014.

And that sucks.

It’s also life though. I’m not a full time writer. Hats off to those who’ve figured out how to do that, but I haven’t, so as a reader of my work, you get this kinda is it/isn’t it mentality of whether or not I’m going to hit my deadlines.

I have worked in one roles for my particular company for most of my legit writing career. Shortly after I released Sorcerer Rising, I went into a new position, a position that, much to my surprise, I actually find pretty damn fulfilling. It’s hard, work intensive, and occupies more time than my old job ever did. But I’m also getting to do work I really never thought I would get to be involved in.

In June, a big part of that work changed. Not in a bad way, actually that’s what made it more fulfilling, but in a way that nevertheless has demanded more from me, both in time and energy. Then I had a deadline for something looming and spent every ounce of focus I had making sure it happened right. Honestly, it’s been one thing after another, and I know you don’t want to hear about all that.

You want to hear about FayTown Calling.

You want to know, where the hell is it?

My answer is simple, it’s not ready yet. There are some big chunks that need to be filled in, then I need to apply a lot of polish. One thing that I’ve learned in my new job, one of the many things I’m applying to my writing life, is that the timeline is less important than making sure things get done well.

Anything else, would just be a disappointment. If you liked Sorcerer Rising, I am going to make sure that you like FayTown Calling. Now, that doesn’t mean it gets to languish on while I nitpick over everything, hissing at anyone who asks, my fist raised in the air, shouting about how “You can’t rush art!” The other thing I’ve learned is that you always, ALWAYS, have to have a date in mind, otherwise you don’t hone in on what you have to do to reach said date.

The date in question, by the way, is November 17th. I think that will give me time to finish, polish, give to Alpha/Beta Readers (because ya’ll are probably going to get mashed together) and then get it to publication.

I’m only really worried about one thing, and for that I’m going to give a quick appeal because I don’t really know what to do.

I have always been a proponent of the publishing world’s overemphasis on editing. Don’t get me wrong, I think the book needs to be as perfect as possible before people read it. I just disagree that it should cost $2,000-$6,000+ to make that happen. For Sorcerer Rising, I did it all myself. Overall, I think I did a pretty damn good job. And for the most part, my reviews would agree.

Except for a handful, and unfortunately, those handful were perhaps more perceptive than some others, myself included. I’m pretty good with spelling and typos, but homonyms and some basic grammar rules kick my tail. So, if anyone knows how to find a good proofreader, that’d be great. This is something I have to start pricing and allotting time for.

For now, I am focusing on writing. I will keep updating here and via my newsletter, something else I’ve sorely neglected, but I promise the results will be worth it.

The Game of Thrones is About to Jump the Rails

I don’t really watch GOT. I’ve seen the first season, which was very enjoyable, but I have neither HBO or the patience and talent to obtain the series in a more illicit manner, nor the finances to buy each season. Nevertheless, I have followed how the series progressed. I, like most readers, loved watching people’s reaction to the Red Wedding, along with the other major moments like the Red Viper’s death. The memes have been great and watching the world learn to love and appreciate the Imp has been something I never really thought I would get to see.

So, even though I don’t watch the show, I’ve kept up with it.

There have been a lot of articles about what GOT will do if it catches up with the books. This is a valid concern, one that is stressed by the way A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons is constructed. For the uneducated, it breaks up the POV characters into two novels. Basically, you have all of Westeros in Feast and the Wall, Dany, and Tyrion in Dance. For the books, this was a little hard to chew. A lot happens in Feast, but it lacks Jon Snow and Tyrion, my favorite parts. A lot happens in Dance too, but focuses very heavily on Dany, my least favorite part.

Let’s take a quick break for that, since everyone is always so surprised that I hate Dany. She is an idiot but that’s not really my problem with her. My problem is her dogged insistence that her family was betrayed, usurped by the “rebellious” lords of her father’s kingdom. I get that this is a world that has never seen democracy, so I’m kinda supposed to approach this with a certain amount of fealty, but the Targaryens that were overthrown in Robert’s Rebellion were monsters, descended from an inbred line of lunatics. Now, I can get behind much of that lunacy, but their actions have continuously ripped Westeros apart, and every single horror that has befallen their bloodlines was earned through years of faulty rule.

Oh, but Dany doesn’t know that?

She would if she would listen to anyone! All of her advisers come along and say, “you know, you’re dad wasn’t all that great” and she throws a hissy fit. Maybe, just maybe, she should remember her psychotic incestuous brother who her Sun and Stars crowned with a pot of molten gold? Maybe she should think about where her horrible sibling got some of those traits?

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I understand she’s a child queen and barely into her teenage years. Who cares! This is a series that has many child characters (Bran, Sansa, Arya) and they get along just fine without being morons. Well, not Sansa but I don’t think anyone thinks that has anything to do with age.

Anyway, the books split up the POV characters. The series has to deal with that. It looks like they’re already incorporating elements from Feast, such as Bran finding the last Greenseer, but it’s still one hell of a task to tackle. Probably, the best way would be to take all the POVs from Feast and Dance and cut it in half, making that a season.

Here’s the problem with that, that’s a lot of content, more than a Storm of Swords. Some people have said it’s a couple seasons in that book and a half, I think it’s more like three or four, depending on how much they want to retain. Then you will have Winds of Winter and whatever comes after that, unless Mr. Martin decides to go ahead and do an eighth. That could be a good, solid decade down the road, if not fifteen years, and by then there could be a ninth and tenth!

Based on some of the changes they’ve been making in the show, and some of the talk from the cast, I’m willing to make a hypothesis. I could be wrong, and honestly the only reason I’m writing it down is so I can say “I knew it!”.

Game of Thrones is about to jump the rails.

What I mean by this is the show is going to diverge from what the books are doing. It might not scoop any of the elements from the series, but it’s about to become its own thing. The stories we know from Feast and Dance…


…with Tyrion going over to Essos, getting kidnapped by Jorah, Jon dealing with Stannis, Arya becoming an assassin, all that stuff, I think is going to get boiled down to some essential elements. From this point on, it will be a separate entity from the books. I know over the years, A Song of Ice and Fire has become more than what George R. R. Martin originally saw it as. That makes me think, based on my own ways of writing, that he had other ideas that he abandoned for this sprawling epic the books have become. This could be an opportunity to go with one of his earlier drafts, when it was still envisioned as four or five books.

But what about his plan, you might ask? He was on the cover of Vanity Fair talking about his plan to wrap things up, doing interviews on talk shows, blogging about how the show will still follow the books.

That, my friends, is a lie.

That’s what I’m really boiling this down to. Next season and for the rest of the series, I think the readers who watch the show are in for a few surprises. We’re going to hit a point where Martin looks at us through the screen and say, “What, you though you were safe?” We will see some surprises as the show begins to veer, much to his malicious enjoyment, I’m sure, and readers and watchers are united in their surprise as the Game of Thrones separates itself from the paper and ink that birthed it.

Writing FayTown Calling 6/15/14

Better today than last night. This afternoon I worked on the section that’s been troubling me, adding 1,250 words to the story.

Not a lot more than that. Usually, I have something to add about storytelling or writing…but, nope.

Anyway, this week is going to be a bit dicey as far as time goes. That’s not really any different than usual, it’s what held up last week, so I’m declaring a plan. Get up early and spend time making new words with a goal of a thousand before I leave for work. At night, do the same thing, or, edit. There is a lot of polish I need to start adding to the story now that things have passed by, so it’s time for that second coat of paint.

That’s the plan. See ya’ll tomorrow.

Writing 6/14/14

It’s been so long since I posted, with so little done, I just wrote the date. This week didn’t see a lot of writing done. I fell of the schedule and just never made it back on. Monday was my school, Tuesday was the only night my wife doesn’t have school, Wednesday was procrastination…You get the idea.

Though my sister did get induced Friday so I feel pretty good about that excuse, especially considering I have a beautiful new niece.

Couldn’t let that opputunity to brag pass, sorry.

Tonight I wrote 750 words. It should be more but I’m having trouble focusing. Mowed the yard, which was exceadlingly unpleasent for reasons I’d rather not elaborate on (just, if you think you’re overheated, don’t push it and maybe don’t mow the yard after eating…) and I’m thinking I’m going to read until we finally go to sleep.

I have plans for tomorrow morning and afternoon to write, so hopefully my report then will be of better success.