So, I Wrote a Book…

I’m not really sure how to feel about it. At first, euphoria. Holy shit, I did it! I told any and everyone about my accomplishment. I glowed with the joy of having finished a major project. But now it’s been a couple weeks and the novelty of the finished thing has worn off. It still feels awesome when I stop and think about it, but I’m not thinking about it as often.

Which is a good thing, actually. I need to give the book some space to breathe and let my mind get some distance from the characters and places that lived inside my head for over six months.

Let’s talk stats:

Total Word Count: 87,903
Total Time: 27 weeks (just over 6 months)
Average Weekly Word Count: 3,255
# of False Starts: NONE! This book knew where it was going even when I didn’t. It wrote straight through, with only a couple of awkward scenes. Otherwise, it was smooth sailing.

Those numbers look and feel good, but they don’t capture how it felt. Keep in mind that, until April, I was working two jobs, averaging anywhere from 45-52 hours each week. I was tired. Like, mind-numbingly tired. I wrote in the evenings, after my shifts, usually before and after dinner. There wasn’t time for much else, though I didn’t notice it at the time.

Only once I finished the book did I realize just how much it absorbed me. These last few weeks without it have been very… free. There’s time to do just about anything. Clean the entire house? Sure! I’ve got time. The house is much tidier now that there’s time to tend to it. Read all the things? Absolutely! What else would I do with my evening? Play video games? Oh, man! I missed those! (Don’t worry, I’ve made up for lost time with Assassin’s Creed.)

It also made me realize how wonderful my spouse is, because once I stopped working on the book, I understood how little he actually saw me. It was so nice to spend evenings with him again, not just inhaling dinner and vanishing to my office. We can watch movies and television together, or play games together. Or, and this is wild and crazy, maybe even go out for dinner.

What I’m getting at here is that writing this book was a huge time-suck and sacrifice for my marriage and household. There are costs to writing a book, and I didn’t even realize I was paying them until it was done.

That being said, I wouldn’t change any of it. This went by relatively quickly, the book wrote itself and I mean that. When I started I only had a character and a vague concept of the premise of this book. Everything else appeared as needed. Side characters, villains, subplots, all of them born out of necessity, not planning.

The book provided, so long as I was willing and able to write it all down.

So, what now?

Honestly, I don’t really know. I don’t feel very concrete about much of anything at the moment. I think I’m still recuperating from the marathon of writing the novel, because nothing feels particularly exciting or compelling. Nothing is calling to me, begging me to spend time on it. I know I need to take a break from Tavi, ideally the whole summer. I was only going to revise it sooner than that if I received a scholarship for a workshop in July. Since I didn’t, I’ve got time to let the manuscript dribble out of my brain. I’m tentatively planning to begin revisions in September. In a perfect world I’d have the manuscript ready to query by the New Year.

I don’t know about you, but my world is far from perfect. So, I’ll be happy if the book is “finished” by May 2020.

That means I have three months to work on other stuff. The question is, what other stuff?

  • In Great Need of Ghosts (working title)
    • This is the new short story I’m working on. I’d originally hoped to work on a couple stories before moving on to the next big project, but this one is coming together pretty slowly right now. If that changes, great! If not, no big deal. I’m more than willing to take the time it takes.
  • Exodus: Descent revision
    • It’s been about nine months since I finished rewriting my very first novel into a totally brand new novella. While I did revise it after completing the rewrite, I knew it wasn’t quite what I wanted it to be. There was something needling at me that I knew was wrong, and halfway through Tavi I figured it out. And since a couple of the potential markets I wanted to send it to are open for submission through the summer, July will be the perfect month to dedicate to fixing the glaring issue and perfecting the rest.
  • The Bahn Hexe (working title)
    • Another short story idea that’s been eating at me since we came home from Munich. I don’t think it’s quite ready to be written yet, but it’s close.

That’s it. That’s all I’ve got on my radar right now. And for now, it feels like enough. I’ll have more to say about upcoming projects and goals this weekend when I share my Monthly Recap post for May.

Until then, Bloggarts.

 

BZ

Goals Summary 2018 – Wk 31

Blogland!

This week was extremely productive. Like, the most productive week I’ve had in a long time. It was also exhausting, and then suddenly very relaxing. Apparently I was all over the place this week!

Last Week

  • Publish 2 blog posts
  • Edit The Steel Armada
  • Write 1k words for The Fall of Ezra Clarke
  • Read Whispers Under GroundWhispers_Under_Ground
  • Review Madhu’s pages

How’d I Do?

  • Publish 2 blog posts
    • Yep. The first of the month saw the upload of The Recap and the review for Bloodlist is up now!
  • Edit The Steel Armada
    • Good Lordy bajornies, YES! It took about 16+ hours of work, but yes. It’s done!
  • Write 1k words for The Fall of Ezra Clarke
    • Yep! Still have no idea where this story is going but I’m happy to spend time with these characters.
  • Read Whispers Under Ground
    • Yarp. I think I finished it on Tuesday?
  • Review Madhu’s pages
    • You know it!

Weekly Word Count: 4,163

Y’all. Holy Crow what a week! There was lots of reading (Whispers Under Ground, The Productive Writer, and Here There be Gerblins), a ton of editing that rendered my brain into gray pudding and brought about a level of crankiness I hadn’t experienced in years. Also, there was a stupid amount of iced coffee just to keep me functional and even that still felt like running on fumes come Friday afternoon.

Exodus Descent RD
Notice the title? More details on that later this week!

Thursday and Friday were days off for me. I printed out the rough draft on Wednesday (all 81 pages), and then woke up on Thursday with one goal in mind: I would sit down and edit as much as my brain could possibly handle. I knew the ending needed rewriting, and I wanted to get that done on Friday if I could. Which meant I needed to get more than half way through the manuscript on Thursday.

That was… taxing. I’ll share an Editing Check-In this week where I’ll talk about the entire process (how I start, how I know when to call a draft done and move on to the next stage, what problem areas I focus on when, etc), but let’s just say that it was a freaking gauntlet.

work work work

After that, I was pretty much useless. A migraine and a completely wrecked sleep schedule later, I sank some hours into one of my Dragon Age: Inquisition playthroughs, read a little fanfic, and played Gloomhaven over the weekend. Which only worked out because I had finished all of my other goals by Friday night.

I’m beginning to think that the writing I’m doing for The Fall of Ezra Clarke is actually just background/foundation work. Right now its too passive, too high school drama. But if I can understand their pasts I can write their futures into something much more compelling. So, I’m just going to keep on until I hit on the actual story. I’ll hone it in from there.

There’s a sudden sense of freedom having The Steel Armada deep in its editing stages. I can work on… anything! I still have short stories out for submission, I’m working on a new sci-fi story (Ezra), I have ideas for a new novel series and a new short story. I have Cards to revise, and the rough draft of From the Quorum to finish. For the first time since 2014, I finally fee like I have options.

I'm free

So, What’s Next?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Write/share one tumblr prompt
  • Write 1k of The Fall of Ezra Clarke
  • Record an episode of Santa Sarita
  • Read Broken Homes
  • Read through The Steel Armada/send to Madhu
  • Review Madhu’s pages

That’s a busy week. Lots of bullet points. But it’s mostly reading, some editing, and a little bit of writing. Lucky for me, I (mostly) enjoy all of those things! I’m still a little tired, my mind not quite as sharp as I’m used to, but that could just be because I haven’t had my coffee yet.

So, I’m off to remedy that, and probably snag some breakfast while I’m at it. I’ll be back this week with the review for Whispers Under Ground and an Editing Check-In. So, until then, I hope you all had a good weekend, and that the week ahead treats you right.

Talk soon, Bloggos.

 

BZ

 

Goals Summary 2018 – Wk 25

Bloggos,

Full disclosure, I started this post on Monday and then got a bit sidetracked. Sorry about it! Let’s talk about goals!

 

Last Week

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Write 500 words/day of The Steel Armada
  • Write 2 tumblr prompts
  • Finish listening to Side Jobs
  • Write 500 words of Sanctuary
  • Review Madhu’s pages

How’d I do?

  • Publish two blog posts
    • Nope. Again. My screen time has been pretty limited to video games lately, not my computer.
  • Write 500 words/day of The Steel Armada
    • Nope. I did write a couple hundred words though, so better than the week before!
  • Write 2 tumblr prompts
    • Yes! These prompts are going well and a ton of fun. They’re pretty much all I’ve been writing, so I’m thankful for them.
  • Finish listening to Side Jobs
    • Haha, nope. Not even a little bit. Not even at all.
  • Write 500 words of Sanctuary
    • Yes! I actually wrote closer to 800 words, which is a nice boost from weeks in the past.
  • Review Madhu’s pages
    • Yes! Of course I did! C’mon!

Weekly Word Count: 3,531

There was actually a bit of work done, just not in the areas I think it should be in. My brain is still a bit of a weird place right now. I’ve got a lot of fanfic ideas and urges, not original content. I finally heard back about Lifelike and I think that is a big part of it. After 61 days I received a personal rejection with an offer to provide feedback. That’s a good thing, even though it doesn’t feel like it right now. The feedback was both good and bad, with some nice comments and some harsh/disappointed comments. I’ve learned that reading harsh comments is only difficult if I know they’re true. These comments definitely ring true.

So, I’m taking a breather on them, before I decide to make the changes and edits I can to address the issues they mentioned. I’ve got a couple ideas already, and I’m realizing that it isn’t going to be as difficult or Earth-shattering as I’d initially imagined. When those are done I’ll send it off again. I’m trying to remind myself that this story made it to the final round of a professional magazine on its first time out. That’s a big deal. I’m on the right track.

So just eat some ice cream, play some video games, and suck it up already.

Meanwhile, The Cost of Rain is still out, currently on day 16 of an average of 18 day response time. I could hear back about it at any time. Which means I’m a giant ball of nerves and stress. You’d think, after months of submissions, I’d be used to this by now.

What’s Next?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Write 500 words/day of The Steel Armada
  • Finish reading Kill the Farm BoyKill the Farm Boy
  • Write two tumblr prompts
  • Write 500 words on Sanctuary
  • Review Madhu’s pages

Well, I’m not doing so great on the posting front. I don’t expect there to be another post this week, but who knows? As for The Steel Armada, it’s still there. It’s in my head. I just don’t have the will to write for it right now. Not a great place to be, but that’s the truth of it.

I’m not really reading at all right now. Another bummer. I’ve read a few pages here and there, and I still enjoy it, but I don’t have any drive to finish Kill the Farm Boy or Side Jobs. I’ve got a few other books slated for reading and though they sound interesting, I’m still just not motivated.

As of this writing I’ve already finished one of my two tumblr prompts and have made headway on the second one. So I’m pretty confident I’ll make that goal. I’ve also already made progress on Sanctuary this week, so that’s another one I’m feeling good about.

And of course, Madhu’s pages. I’ve got them queued up and my day off is tomorrow, so I’ll get them done for sure. As always.

But, I have a goal for this week that isn’t on the official list because it’s weird. Like, not at all important, but it sounds too fun not to do. I’ve decided, after some careful consideration and quick poll of my fanfic readers, to narrate my giant series, Santa Sarita.  I haven’t officially announced it yet, but I’ll be recording and posting one chapter a week, until I’m all caught up.

I imagine I’ll have all kinds of fun anecdotes and thoughts on the process, because I have never done anything like this before. I’m really excited and a little nervous, but the response on tumblr so far has been very positive. Plus, rereading my old stories has really reignited my interest in writing Sanctuary. I miss my characters!

So that’s what’s up this week. A little writing, some gaming, some voice acting (if you can call it that) and just trying to keep my mental health at an even keel. I’ll be back next week to let you know how that goes.

Until then,

 

BZ