Tag Archives: writingresolutions

General Update & The Start of NaNo2017!

Somehow, I got to November, and I have to write wurds…

Photo of (most of) the Grimmie Crew by the amazing Tom Parker.

BristolCon 2017 was fab. I was manning the Grimbold stall for most of the day, assisted by a lot of glamorous assistants – the Grimbold crew are amazing! – and chatted to what felt like everyone. I was on the 10am panel about You Are The Product, which was also fab (and not long enough! We could have talked for the entire day…) and then unfortunately didn’t get to any others, but I heard a lot of people say they were really interesting.

I picked up some books, too – The Court of Broken Knives by Anna Smith-Spark, The Corpse-Rat King by Lee Battersby, The Rise of Io by Wesley Chu and a random copy of The Road to Thule by David R Lee, which from a cursory glance I admit may go in my charity pile (I didn’t buy it, it was randomly in our stock! I suspect from a previous convention freebie table). But hey, I’ll try it, and I’m definitely looking forward to the others.

I’m wondering if I should spend some of December catching up on my reading, and sorting out my Goodreads…I have an entire shelf of books that I haven’t yet got to, along with quite a few on my Kindle! We’ll see how this month goes.

Speaking of…

NANO2017! I am writing words! I am aiming for 70k so my aim is 2300(ish) per day. Whether I’ll manage that or not remains to be seen. At any rate, I’m enjoying the story so far.

You can find me on the NaNoWriMo site, and there’s still time to join in if the idea of writing a novel in 30 days intrigues you!

In more general news, I have good days and bad days, and I’m not entirely coping with people (as in panic-attack-not-coping-with-people) so if I’m a little quiet, that’s why! I am trying to keep in contact though so I am still online and messaging. Book Polishers is still awesome so I’m just trundling along with work there, trying to get out for some lovely autumn walks, and trying to keep busy. Not that keeping busy is going to be an issue this month!

Now, I need to go write some words….wish me luck!

Returning to a Ghost

I stopped writing things in the No Man’s Land series after Ryan died. He was one of my beta readers, and the one who cheered me on; he asked the questions, laughed at the jokes, talked to me about the latest plot and idea. He was the one I’d email at 3am with a story.  And I miss him so, so much, even eight months on.

But I did some organising this week, and hauled out all my half-finished short stories…and amongst them are six No Man’s world ones (well, No Man’s Land – they’re mostly about Ghost, because I love her). And I want to finish them. I started reading them, just to remind myself. It hurts, still. But that’s now being tempered with the love for writing, and the characters are starting to talk to me again. They’re not getting drowned by the waves of grief any more. I want to write.

Have the start of a new story that might now get finished…

The air is cold and frigid, with mist creeping across the ground, obscuring my footing. The trees are long dead, their branches hung with decades of cobwebs and vines instead of leaves. The ground is a morass of swamp and rock, its stink rising until it’s almost visible. The scenery wavers between dank, dead forest and occasional rock spires, their outlines jagged against the dark sky.

In short, it’s not the nicest of places – and in addition, the path that I’m on is most certainly haunted…I’m not just saying that because it’s pretty freakin’ creepy.

I’ve got a ghost whining in my ear.

One of the downsides of being able to see spirits is that I can also hear them, and I’ve found that they fall into three categories: dull, friendly, or freaky.

This one is trying for freaky. It’s achieving dull. After all, blood-curdling moans are only terrifying when you don’t know that the ghost producing them has no torso. I know that should be scary, but actually it’s quite amusing to see a disembodied head and legs floating along, particularly when said ghost is doing the traditional arm-waving and managing to look as if it’s attempting to land a plane. I’m not sniggering, but it’s taking willpower. Ghosts tend to get touchy when their efforts to scare go unappreciated.

Cake Club, March 2017: Aims

So, I’m part of a thing called Cake Club. Basically, it’s a small group of authors who get together every few months, talk goals, and eat cake.

The cake is the important part. You can tell by the name.

One of the members was ill this month, so it was just Adrian and I. In between plotting chaos (which may or may not come to anything, so watch this space) we also updated each other on progress and what our plans are. Adrian did an update on Saturday, and while I did tell him everything I’m up to, I’m going to put it here too – just to give myself a public record of incentives!

I like having my progress bars in the sidebar (down to the right) – it lets me see how I’m doing. Greensky’s ongoing, and I’ve submitted No Man’s Land to more agents to bring my total there up to eight. I’ve also had one short story accepted; I’ll tell you more about that when I know more!

My aims for the next two months, before the next meeting? I’ve got the Shadow series to rewrite; I’m having some time away soon (if plans work out) so I’m hopefully using that as dedicated writing time. No Man’s Dawn is in progress, currently on 18000 words with things roughly plotted. No Man’s Sky is at about 50k and needs to get to 70k, so…eh. Ongoing. I’m thinking about it!

Beyond that, it’s basically business as usual for me. The thing I like is that I am – despite all my frustrations – in a rough routine for writing. I know when my next few short story deadlines are; I’m happy with my three-times-a-week-plus-Sunday blog post schedule, and I’m reading enough to put up the occasional review. I keep enough ongoing that I still feel that I am writing.

It makes for a fairly boring update, but everything really is trundling along! I’m just waiting for news from agents (good or bad), waiting for submissions to come back, waiting for more anthology calls that I can write for or submit to, waiting for my novels to progress chapter by chapter, waiting for the ideas to fall into place. This is what a lot of writing is – step by step progress, one word at a time, one story at a time!

A Year of Writing: 2017 – the start

For a start, I’m going to brush up on my touch typing. I’m drafting this in the dark with a cat on my lap, and I need to learn how to a) touch type better, and b) type with one hand. It’s needed!

So, 2016 was my Year of Hard Work. I wrote a lot of words, didn’t quite finish what I wanted (GreenSky) but did complete some new things (No Man’s Land), and I also just had news that I’ve had a fifth short story accepted, so my aim of 6 in a year wasn’t quite so ambitious! I’m really happy.

So, 2017? While I’m not doing a Year Of Anything or setting official goals for myself, I’ve got some ongoing aims:

I want to try to get 6 short stories accepted in 2017. It’s the same aim as 2016, as it keeps me writing and keeps me interested in things other than the ‘big’ stories, and I think that’s a good thing. It also sparks ideas – No Man’s Land came from a short story!

Write two ‘other’ stories per month. I’ve got a little side project going, under another name, and I want to continue writing flash fiction for that – 2 stories per month.

Finish the GreenSky series. Hopefully this should be in the next few months; I’m editing at the moment, and I need to get Book 10 finished. I’m aiming to have that wrapped up soon. Potentially I’ve also got the novels to work on, but at the moment I seem to be pushing on with other things.

Do something with No Man’s Land – currently in progress. I want to finish the series, too, or at least get them plotted out.

Other work? We’ll see. I’ve got the Shadows series to re-plot, Madcap Library if I feel like picking that up, some Dresden writing to potentially re-work (although my energy for that is going into gaming at the moment), and some odd stories to pick up if I felt like it. I’ve got enough to be going on with, I think!

Reading? Well, I’m still doing the Discoverability Challenge, which is 12 – or 24 – books in the year. I also want to read & review two books a month for SFF World (down from my previous one a week, but then I’m not commuting at the moment so don’t get the dedicated reading time), and I don’t think four books a month is particularly ambitious for me.

I’m going to update my sidebar to reflect the changes, and I’ll see how things progress over the course of the year. It feels exciting – I’m looking back to 2016 and thinking “wow, I didn’t expect No Man’s Land, I didn’t expect the short stories, I’ve had so much fun with the Discoverability Challenge…”

I wonder what this year’s going to bring?

The Year of Hard Work: the end

Well, I started my Year Of Hard Work this time last year, pre-NaNo 2015. It doesn’t feel as if a year’s passed, but…welp, guess it has!

Green Sky Writing

My original plan was focused around the GreenSky series; I wanted to get Books 5, 8, 9 and 10 finished, and then by NaNo 2016 have the novels planned and write the first.

Well, I screwed that up during NaNo 2015 by finishing Books 8 and 9! I was then focused on finishing the series and plotting the novels. That got pushed back again at Easter, mostly due to Empty Skies rewrites (but hey, at least Book 5 got finished). I tried to kick-start it again at the start of Summer, failed, and haven’t managed anything much since. That said, I have roughly plotted out the three novels, provisionally titled the “Three R’s”. So not too bad!

So…my aim for the rest of the GreenSky series is twofold; get the novellas finished and edited, and plot and write (at some point) the novels. I’m also still writing short stories in the GreenSky world, which is fun.

Other Writing

My original plan was to look over Shadows in the Light and Ghosts in the Fog, and keep working on short stories. At Easter, I added the goal of having six short stories published this year, and I’m currently on four! Two are GreenSky and two are set in the world of No Man’s Land.

‘Bluesky’ and ‘No Man’s Sky’ – now No Man’s Land and No Man’s Stars – made an appearance at the start of summer. I promptly got sucked into No Man’s Land and I’m 2/3 of the way through No Man’s Sky, with No Man’s Stars being plotted for NaNoWriMo 2016.

Shadows hasn’t got any further; I was wondering about doing work on this at Christmas, but I’m still mulling over possibilities. The third book in the series has been roughly plotted too, and has gained the working title of “Hunter in the Dark”.

The Wider World

I had three aims in my first post; get more involved on social media, do more with  Swindon FreeWriters, and get more involved with Grimbold Books.

By Easter, I was doing pretty well. I’d gotten up to 300 followers on Twitter and got my own author page on Facebook. SFW always takes a while to get going after Christmas, but Grimbold was definitely going strong – I’d gotten roped into helping read submissions, which was amazing, and helping with editing.

And now? I’m up to 600 followers on Twitter and trying to use my Facebook page more. I’m just taking it slow and trying to be me – hopefully interesting! I’m editing four books for Grimbold, including an anthology, and generally getting myself involved. It’s fun!

Writing Audit

Word count…uh. Lemme go count.

Lots. Will that do?

When I checked in October last year, I’d written over 654,000 words over two years.

Well, I’ve done nothing more on Shadows, but Dresden had one long story (42,000 words) and several shorter ones (probably about 15,000 words in total, possibly more). GreenSky has had Book 5 finished (10k words), Books 8 and 9 finished (40k each) and Book 10 part-done (5000 words), plus a rewrite of Book 5 (20,000 words), totalling 115,000 words.

I’ve done 70,000 words on No Man’s Land and 50,000 on No Man’s Sky. I’ve done about 5000 words of erotica and 14 finished short stories at about 5000 words each, so that’s another 70,000 words, plus let’s say 8 unfinished stories at about 1000 words each…

So that’s another 203,000 words plus GreenSky’s 115,000 and Dresden’s 57,000…that’s 375,000 since October 2015. And that’s a conservative estimate, as I suspect some of the totals are less than the actual story lengths or I’ve forgotten things…

I was aiming for 100,000, and I’ve done at least 375,000 words in a year.


The Result

So…what have I learned?

  • If you’re interested in something, throw the ‘should’ out the window and write the thing occupying your brain. It’s how I ended up with No Man’s Land!
  • Keep working on short stories. I pick anthology calls that inspired me as that seems to make me write stories (instead of random snippets), and I’ve been checking for them every fortnight or so. I’ve ended up with a number of short stories on the go as well as my completed ones, and it’s been a good challenge to get better at them.
  • I can’t predict what I want to work on…I didn’t expect to start an entirely new series of novels or get one finished and the second half-done in a few months! That said, not planning seems to work pretty well for me as long as I just keep writing.
  • I write stupid numbers of words without really thinking about it. I just keep writing the stuff that interests me!

I’m not going to bother doing another official Year Of Anything, or keep track of my word count – it’s not that interesting or useful to me beyond an “oh that’s cool” stat. I’m happy writing what I want to write, and working on what I want to do; it’s the method that works best for me.

So for the next year, I’m just going to keep going and keep writing!