Friday, November 29, 2013

November Musings & NaNoWriMo

November is NaNoWriMo month. Fifty thousand words in thirty days. First draft material all the way. This years project is a prequel story to a previous novella. I decided to work on a character’s back story and explain how he got started as a supernatural troubleshooter. Having lots of fun with the story, which I’ve done a lot of jumping around, working on whatever scene catches my fancy. This year I’m working in Scrivener and finding it works really well in letting me jump around. Each scene is it’s own little section, letting me drag and drop as needed. I’m ahead of the game and not having to rush at the last minute for a change. Course it is the last minute, but who’s counting.

In the meantime, three more short stories were published, bringing the total to six in print, number seven due out in January, and number eight eventually. Three other stories are out to calls and I did manage to write two more short stories that aren’t due until after January 1. On a roll and hoping to keep up the pace in 2014. With a couple of years, I’ll have enough urban fantasy/fairy tale stories that I could slap together as an anthology in my own right. Need to make a bigger name for myself in the meantime.

Handed a couple of books out to some NaNo folks so they could read my stories. Best feedback was one gentlemen that wanted more and he said the opening sentence was quite “descriptive”. Bonus points for hooking them at the start. Looking at the cast of characters that are running through my head, there’s a lot of story potential out there and I want to try other viewpoints. Put the spotlight on the “supporting” characters, develop them further, and see what makes them tick. The best thing I like about writing to the short story calls is being able to pull from the stable and seeing who fits. It’s given me the chance to write a Beauty and the Beast story with a twist. When I started writing it was fantasy or post-apocalypse stories, maybe a couple of hard sci-fi tales. First story sold? Suspense. Second story? Horror. I remember sitting on a panel and one of the speaker said don’t limit yourself to a genre. Now I get it. Write to what works. Let the characters be the focus, tell their stories, and it should work out fine.

As a followup, I broke 50,000 words and won for the 6th year in a row. Still not done with the story, but got an early finish for a change.

Monday, November 4, 2013

NaNoWriMo 2013 & other musings

      It’s been a bit over a year since my first short story was published and I still can’t shake the feeling that it’s a bit unreal.  A small publisher in Delaware took a chance on a unknown author and accepted a 2500 word story about an assassin and his axe. Madame was published in August of 2012. Henri’s appeared in another anthology from Smart Rhino [Perfection in Zippered Flesh 2] and there’s hints of a sequel to Uncommon Assassins. The third story, Riot, is partially written and I’m going to revisit it once December hits. I’m leaving a copy of both anthologies with the folks I’m currently working with and have gotten some very positive feedback from them. And a few strange looks.

      In the meantime, I’ve sold 6 other stories, written twice that number, and revised my novella. Got a slew of rejections, some really good advice on how to improve my writing, and encouragement from friends to keep going. Broken Horn in the anthology Astrologica: Tales of the Zodiac was released on 1st. I can't wait to have that one in hand and to add it to the brag box. That leaves 5 more in the pipeline, a couple of which I'm hoping to see by January. The latest one was submitted and accepted in under 10 hours. To be honest, I was floored with the rapid turn around and thrilled that they liked the story.

      This month is NaNoWriMo. 50K words in 30 days. Working on a prequel to my novella, “Fire and Frost”, going back to when the protagonist took his first steps into the world of changelings, magic, and weirdness. Sort of crap right now, but first draft and all that. Using Scrivener for writing, which lets me breakdown the story into chapters, move around parts, and get a rough outline going. And exports into standard manuscript format, which is sort of a pain as it turns all italics into underlines. Minor quibble, as all the other features make it very useful. Ahead of the writing goal at the moment and I'm aiming to “finish” before Thanksgiving, then push for another 10k. See if I can hit that 60k word goal. This is the eighth year and I've "won" five of the last seven. It's a great exercise in discipline giving me a goal to reach and then exceed. Like I need an excuse to write, but I can at least say, "Sorry, need to write" and go hunker down at the coffee shop for hours while I brainstorm a scene.