March Goals

I have been so bad. I am sorry. I hang my head in shame. Well, not really, because there were a couple family crises (again) but this time everyone’s okay, if sporting a couple new badass scars.

But holy shit-snacks what happened to February? I know it’s the shortest month, but I have to admit not only did I not get much writing done, but I didn’t meet any more of my goals from January! Nor did I post… anything. At all.

I feel much shame. (Not really).

So here’s March’s Slightly-More-Reasonable-Goals

Novel – SpyFi 

  • Chapter 10  – 40%
  • Chapter 11 – 20%

Short Story/Novelette – The Cold ones

  • Draft 1 – 30% To be finished this week

Flash Fridays

  • (super belated) Pied Piper- 2%
  • Describe a thing in ten ways.

January Sprint Update

So the Interactive post will probably show up next week. I got into planning it and realised just how friggen big it’s going to get. I’m probably going to split it up into a series, covering traditional, digital and game media. So for now I’ll just ramble a bit about progress/lack thereof.

Novel – SpyFi 

  • Chapter 10  – 40%
  • Chapter 11 – 20%
  • Chapter 12 – 0%

Short Story – The Cold ones

  • Draft 1 – 30%

Short Story – Rejection

  • Draft 1 – 100%
  • Story pass – 65%
  • Beta/Critique – 0%

Flash Fridays

  • House of Glass – 2%

Gearing up

Okay. later this week I’ll be doing a Nuggets o’Knowledge about interactive storytelling (as in interactive/non traditional stories) but I’m still working on putting that together. Instead you get an update on writing! (because I know all, like, none of you asked for it.)

I did a big post about my goals for 2014, so I thought I’d do mini monthly goals which I call ‘Sprints’ cuz, you know you’ll leave everything to the last minute so this breaks your sprints up into huffing, wheezing weekly events so you don’t kill yourself sprinting a marathon.

Protip: don’t sprint a marathon.

January Sprint

Drafting

Novel – SpyFi 

  • Chapter 10  – 40%
  • Chapter 11 – 20%
  • Chapter 12 – 0%

The Cold ones

  • Draft 1 – 20%

Rejection

  • Draft 1 – 30%
  • Story pass – 0%
  • Beta/Critique – 0%

FF – Amethyst Angel

Chuck‘s Flash Friday – “Roll for Title

  • Draft 1 – 0%
  • Spelling/grammar pass – 0%

Critique Group

Meets end of Jan and have The Cold Ones OR Rejection ready for them.

New Year, New Goals

*shakes off the dust and clingy shittiness of 2013*

Right! New Year, New Goals. I was going to write this post anyways, but saw that David Farland had a post up about Writing Goals, so I modified my original idea to break it down into lists. (yay organization!)

Editor cat

Pre-Writing

Novel 2 – The Novelling Deepens

Research into necessary historical issues: societal, military, organizational and scientific practices.

World Build the nations, economy, conflicts and societies where the story takes place.

Develop the Characters who live in this world: who they are, who they want to be and what’s stopping them from being that.

Outline the major plot points and then work from large to small: breaking down the major events into arcs and then chapters.

Short stories

Research into medical proceedures, nanotechnology and medical complications.

World Build for 1) Gaslight Fantasy, 2) Sci Fi system, 3) Blood Curses.

Develop the Characters and their story arcs.

Outline the major plot points.

Writing

Quality

Style – Work on smoothing out style. Less jerkiness from topic to topic, unless it sylistically contributes to the scene/story at hand. Must be intentional.

Grammar – Break out the ol’ CP Stylebook and do a thourough comb-through of all stories and novels.

Story – Needs to be a story vs a situation. Characters need to have agency, rather than just react to events going on around them.

Quantity

Novel – SpyFi 

Complete Draft 2.1 by Ad Astra (April 4th) [Essentially a full re-write] – 40%

Short stories to Finish

Water’s Way – 50%
Ghak the Great – 30%
Goetia – 30%
Rejection – 30%
The Cold Ones – 10%
Personal Demons – 10%
Rosie n’ Punt Make a Man – 10%
Hollow Girl – 0%
Don’t Know Jack – 0%
Homecoming Queen – 0%

Consistency

Daily

Write between 500-1000 words per day.

Monthly

Draft at least one short story per month.

Revise the previous month’s and submit it. 

Quarterly

Enter WotF until I’m ineligible (either through winning or sales, either would count as a success!)

Finish a draft of a novel. (likely revised drafts)

Editing & Rewriting

Novel – SpyFi

Have a version of the novel that is ready for submissions by Year’s end, either for Angry Robot’s Open Door, or to get an Agent.

Short stories

Use the following system for EVERY short story:

  1. Draft
  2. Story Pass
  3. Beta readers/Critiques
  4. Character Pass
  5. Dialogue
  6. Proof/Copy

Training

Blogs

TerribleMinds‘ Flash Fridays at least twice a month.

David Farland’s Daily Kick in the Pants

Critique Group(s)

 Continue to work with critique group(s)

Conventions

Ad Astra – Attend as many relevant panels as possible and as many parties as possible and sleep… sometime.
Dragon*ConWriter’s Track (not sure about this website though, looks like it might be out of date)
Can-Con – hopefully be on some panels again, though not sure how I’m going to top last year’s dinner with Derek and David Hartwell. That was kind of awesome.

Workshops

Dragon*con has some workshops listed, and if they’re offered again this year I’m hoping to make it out to some of them.

Nuggets – Taking Criticism

Okay, so. After my last announcement I was feeling pretty awesome, and then almost immediately after got some advice/critique that immediately deflated any burdgeoning ego.

Blobfish

My ego has self-confidence issues.

But, in all honesty, deflation like that is necessary. Without honest critique I’d hit a plateau and then end up staying there for god knows how long. Sure there’ll be some things I could improve by practice, but critique and constructive criticism is a jetpack on the hike up ‘writing’ mountain. That’s a terrible metaphor but shut up it’s Monday.

In my personal experience, learning how to take constructive criticism was one of (if not the) hardest lesson I had to learn so far in life. And that’s including my generation’s current ‘so we can’t actually do whatever we want if we work hard enough?’ life crisis. To anyone that says we can I have a couple choice words for you: Retirement, Gender Bias, Health Problems  and Saturated Markets. But that’s another post.

When I was younger, I was dead set on becoming an author/artist combo who studied sharks for a living. But I knew I had to improve my art skills somehow (my shark skills were top-notch), so I signed up for night classes. It was an adult class, and without it, I’m pretty sure I’d be an emotional porcupine whenever anyone would offer a suggestion on my work.

Lord knows I was before I took that class. The teacher was tough, and decided she wasn’t going to coddle 13-year-old Alice. Instead she vigourously pointed out mistakes, but did (eventually) offer suggestions on how to improve.

Colonel Meow

Bitch, what do you mean my art isn’t PERFECT?!

Trial by emotional fire, I kid you not. But, again, necessary. Now I’d rather hear the blunt problems people can encounter with my writing. But that’s not to say that it’s easy to hear, just that I know it’s not personal (and if it is, then HATERS GONNA HATE) and that no response would be worst of all.

What caught me the other week was the scale of the criticism. “It’s your style, the flow, it’s all choppy.” That’s not something easy to fix, since it’s not limited to one story and it’s something that I very obviously didn’t see. Or, y’know, it wouldn’t be choppy.

It took a while to absorb, and digest and I’m still trying to figure out a way around it. It’s also hard to get motivated when I’m now studying every paragraph for choppiness, or lack of flow. It’s something I’ll need to do, but not during the first draft.

While doing this, I realised that the steps needed to absorb criticism are eerily similar to the 7 stages of grief.

1. Shock or Disbelief Continue reading

Hack and Slash*

*not these guys, sorry

*not these guys, sorry

After the brou-haha of WorldCon died down, I was super motivated to buckle down and finish the novel. I’d started it last year, only to leave it wallowing in a horrific state of half-finished-draft to focus on short stories.

But there was a problem.

There were many problems, actually: I’d made it too big, too busy, and realised I tried to cram too much into it.

“Holy Balls, Batman,” I said to myself (as my cat is still currently on vacay at my parent’s due to her houdini-like abilities when it comes to her carrier.) “What was I thinking?”

And so, I read over the plot outlines, poked at plot holes, and cut characters. Mid-dissection I realised the last third of the plot just… didn’t work. Elements of it did, but I’d have to go about restructuring most of it.

And by restructuring I mean ‘rewriting’.

And by ‘rewriting’ I mean Rewriting.

I had a stiff drink, then another before I dug out the plot-machete, and started hacking away at the frankenstien-like plot. It cried, I cried, it was horrible. And liberating.

What’s left is a proper story, with stakes and character development and spies.

Sci-Fi-Spies.

The working Title is still shit though.

…but that can wait until I’m done (re)writing the damn thing.