agilebrit: (Over My Head)
So, my January NaNoWriMo project is coming up soon, and I'm naturally contemplating what I'm going to do for it. The short story/novelette seems to be the length that has chosen me, and I'm perfectly happy with that, honestly. There's way less angst about sending a 5000-word story I've spent a month writing winging out into the ether as opposed to something that took me a full year of blood, sweat, tears, and swearing. I could pound out another five to seven stories in January and be just as pleased as punch to do so. This would give me more things to sub to short fiction markets. I don't see a bad there.

However.

I've got two novel ideas knocking--nay, banging loudly--on the back of my head.

Of course, both of these novel ideas involve heavily Biblical angels and demons and are probably (frankly) unsaleable to any major (or minor) markets. One of them takes place in Hell; the other follows up Angry Bitter Angel with the ramifications of the events in the novella. Yeah, you're not the only ones picking your jaws up off the floor because they're not werewolf stories. I'm stunned myownself.

So the question is, do I scribble more shorts I could actually (possibly) sell (ha), or do I invest in a labor of love for something I'll (probably) end up self-publishing?

My advice to other writers is always "write your bliss," but my bliss is pulling me in two directions right now and I'm not sure how I solve that. I have the notion that I could commit to writing a short story per month next year and work on the novel(s) between doing that. I've always said I like to have one in the writing stages and one in the editing stages. If I scribble the first draft of a short at the beginning of the month, then I can be scribbling a novel draft while that's in editing.

I think it may be time to step out of my comfort zone.
agilebrit: (Over My Head)
So, yeah, I'm planning another short-story NaNo push for January. As one does.

And for some reason, my Writer Brain has decided to go completely offline. I still have three outlines to finish.

  • I need a concrete villain with a concrete motivation for one.
  • I need to figure out if another one even has a villain. So far, the answer to that seems to be a resounding "no!"
  • I need a wholesale Plot for the third. All I have at this point is a bare Idea.


What this means in practical terms is that I'll probably still be outlining some stories while I'm writing others next month. The one I'm outlining right now is the one that's pinging me the hardest, but it's not the one I need to write first. The one I need to write first is the second one on that bulleted list up there, because it's got an actual deadline (February 1). And I still have the second Plot Turn and second Pinch to come up with in that one, along with a Resolution rather than a denouement, which is what I have now.

Antubis and Flaubert (my anteater muses; don't ask) are sticking out their considerable tongues and going "NEENER" at me, rather than actually helping. And I am banging my head on my keyboard and assiduously wishing for something stronger to drink than diet Mountain Dew. At one in the afternoon. I'm just about ready to throw my hands up, say "screw it," and wing the rest of these damn stories.

But I know that will end in disaster. So. Gyah. I am a professional, dammit. Therefore, I will sit down and do my job, which at this moment consists of outlining these stupid stories so I can hit the ground running in January.

A doctor doesn't get to say "Sorry, guys, I've got Surgeon's Block, so we're going to have to reschedule this procedure for a different date when I'm feeling it." And neither do I.
agilebrit: (Guri praise the Lord)
I'm going to be in an anthology with Greg Benford, you guys.

World Weaver Press announces the contributors for their FAR ORBIT anthology.

How cool is that?

In other news, I've just bitten off a lot in one of my January NaNo project stories, which will be henceforth known as "Time-traveling Ben." I realized while noodling this... thing with my RP partner that it could easily be a novel, and now I hate my brain. It won't be, because I Am A Short Story Writer Dammit™, but there's definitely room here for an Expansion Pack.

This is the first outline for that project that I've actually gotten any traction on, too. How ironic. You know, if I wanted to write a novel for my January NaNo, I would finish the friggin' angel book.
agilebrit: (Elementary)
I realize that I've said this before, but this time it's much more concrete.

I finished the outline of the Angry Bitter Angel novel on the drive out to Colorado (we are visiting the HubbyMom and showing off the Mustang). I have decided that if I can bang out a thousand words per day on it from now until the end of December, that's, you know, 65,000 words, on top of the 20,000 I already have.

So, what I'm going to do is work on ABA for the rest of the year. I'll outline a few shorts in December, then write at a NaNo pace in January, completing a first draft of ABA and rounding out the 50,000-word wordcount with shorts.

That will give me a novel to edit and a few shorts to beat into something good to keep my hand in. I want to write something for this, plus (of course) another Ben story, and another Alex story.

In pursuit of that, I did my thousand words today, so I'm off to a rousing start. We'll see if I can keep that pace up.
agilebrit: (I'm a terrible person)
And I love them all.

HUZZAH.

The Revelator is finished and off to the Salt City Steam Salty Dog Contest.

De-Wolfed Ben has garnered a bit of crit from the Hubby, but really nothing major. He liked that one a lot, and thought the end was good and didn't fizzle or come too abruptly.

I should be getting crit on Chambliss's Story from my Writing Buddy soon.

George and the Meerkats is just a fun little story. It's my fifth entry in my spaceship crew saga. I sent that one to my Writing Buddy this week.

The only one I have yet to look at is Cat-Hoarding Dragon, and I did sneak a peek at the ending just now. Eheehee. I am amused.

That one, however, is going to take a lot of work to beat into shape. It started in first person, and then I realized a few thousand words in that it wouldn't work in first and switched to third. It's got three POV characters and is already banging on 9000 words. Which means I've got a bare thousand words to play with if I want to send it to Beneath Ceaseless Skies. Considering the fact that I rarely write secondary-world fantasy, I really do want to send it to them.

Fortunately, the other three I have left won't actually take much to complete, I don't think. They're pretty solid as they sit, and I am well-pleased with the results of this NaNo round.
agilebrit: (shiny!)
This may end up being my favorite out of the five I wrote. I say that having not looked at two of them yet, but I honestly don't see them dethroning this. There is nothing not to love here, and it's got so many pull quotes and little moments that I just adore it.

Which means that's two NaNo projects where my favorite story ended up not being a Ben story, although he's got a bit part in this one. I do love Alex, though, and Chambliss's dry patience with his shenanigans is a delight to write.

This is not to say that the story doesn't need work, because oh, God, it does. For one thing, I'd like to whack it down to under 9000 words. That's doable in its current incarnation; it's not much over that right now. So, I'm going to concentrate on editing Chambliss's story so I can get it out there, and it'll be the one I give to my Writing Buddy this weekend.

HUZZAH.
agilebrit: (I regret nothing)
The Superhero Christmas story is not pinging me. At all. So, I'm setting it aside, at least until tomorrow, and working on edits for the Revelator instead.

It's funny to come back to something you haven't seen in a couple of weeks. That thing about "fresh eyes" is definitely valid. I didn't even remember my wordcount for the thing--turns out it was a hair over 4500, which is well within the 5000-word limit, so go, me. Apparently I can do "short" if pressed.

The good news is, I like the story. The bad news is that it needs a title. Of course. And it needs more... something. Emotion, I think, which is always my weak spot. Fortunately, I have plenty of wiggle room, and about a week before it's due. My Writing Buddy has the raw file, and I'll run it past the Hubby and (probably) the Usual Suspects once I've solved the emotions problem..

So. I didn't write much today, but I've done a couple of editing passes and I refuse to think of myself as a failure. Scribbling nearly 40,000 words in a month, across five stories, is not a Fail.
agilebrit: (Over My Head)
So, yeah. I haven't written anything for about two days. Staring down the barrel of the end of a NaNo project, this is a problem.

I think part of my issue is that I'm not very excited about this story, although one would think it's right up my alley. Another part is that I've written 110,000 words in six months and it's entirely possible that I'm just burnt out. Maybe other people can sustain this pace, but I'm not used to it, at all. And another part is that I'm pretty sure that this story will not tip me over the 50K mark and I'm unwilling to start another one when this one is done because I'm tired and I don't want to commit to that. BUT. It won't tip me over 50K and so that makes me feel like a failure. *tears hair out*

So. What I really need to do is just buckle down and finish this one and call it "good," no matter the word count. This will give me fourteen stories on my year. Then I'll edit these and start the outlining process for the Ben-in-vampire-prison novel.

And maybe I'll do a half-NaNo in September or October or something just to say I did, although I'm sure there will be other themed anthos coming out that I'll want to write for as well.

My output this year is nothing to be ashamed of. However, resting on my laurels is also a terrible idea. So. I have a Plan. I just need to implement it.
agilebrit: (Guri praise the Lord)
At the bottom of my fifth story in the June NaNo Project o'Doom. This one clocks in at 8958 and leaves me 161 short of the "1700 per day" goal.

And it's going to require a lot of fixing in post. I was 3600 words in when I realized it wouldn't work in first person, so it switches to third person. And I'm not real sure my protag is who it started out to be.

But. The first draft is done. At this point, that's all I care about.
agilebrit: (Facepalm2)
Where I have realized that the 1st person POV I started it in simply will not work. There is no way to make it work, and I should stop trying to do so.

Of course, now the question is: do I go back and fix 3600 words' worth of Wrong POV, or do I just go forward on the doc with the assumption that I've done so and then fix the beginning in post? How crazy will it drive me to do that? Survey says: "probably pretty crazy, as per experience."

However. I'll probably, at this point, just go forward like it's always been in 3rd person. I am woefully behind on wordcount, and fixing it Right This Minute will take time that I could spend, you know, writing.

Last time this happened to me, it was the opposite problem. I started in 3rd and the story needed to be told in 1st. That... was an easier fix than this. But at least this means I get to write the scene I wanted to write but was constrained by POV because the POV character was not on the stage when it happened.

*sigh* It's never easy, is it.
agilebrit: (I regret nothing)
Day 7 of the NaNo Project o'Doom was an abject failure. I missed the "to 50K goal" by 348 words, and the "1700 words per day" goal by 579.

Several factors were involved. One of them was the fact that this outline, while extensive at first blush at over 700 words all by itself, isn't actually giving me what I need to write the story in a comprehensible fashion. It's borked like a big borked thing.

Another thing is the sheer amount of research I'm having to do on the fly. Until you get into a project like this, you don't know what you don't know. And sometimes, digging out information is nigh impossible even with excellent google-fu. Did the wide spot in the track that I've picked for my protag's hometown have a bank? I don't know, nor can I apparently find out. But I need one for my plot, so screw it, I put one there.

And, of course, the day was filled with distractions of all kinds. I had not-writing projects to do. Hubby got home from a three-day trip, so we rented a movie. Boy went off on a camping trip, so I had to make sure he had everything he needed for that. The interwebs are shiny, and there are morons who need smackdowns, although that particular thing has slowed. And on it goes--today I need to go grocery shopping so my mens will have actual food while I'm gone, and I need to start getting ready for the WEx retreat.

But I do hope to stick an END at the bottom of this thing today. I might even get it into the 5K wordcount limit. I'm at the second pinch and roaring toward the conclusion, oddly enough. I thought I had more plot there (see: 700-word outline), but apparently not. That is a good thing, and I will embrace it after the over 9000-word behemoth the last thing turned into.
agilebrit: (Guri praise the Lord)
It comes in at a little over 9100 words. *dies* Yes, I needed another novelette in this series. Really.

Not only that, but there are details I need to add, such as the fact that Ben needs vision correction again. And more description.

But, for now, I'm calling it Done. I will rest for tonight, or perhaps poke this one some more and add those details. Tomorrow, I start the steampunk story.
agilebrit: (Guri praise the Lord)
What a beautiful wedding. A good time was had by all, and New Hubby Dave is a peach. They clearly adore each other.

So now I'm home until Sunday, when I will wing my way to Chattanooga for the Writing Excuses retreat. Meanwhile, I'm madly scribbling Iteration Two of the NaNo Project o'Doom, which is a rousing success so far. Even with wedding shenanigans, I've managed to hit my goal for the first four days, and it continues apace. I'm nearly 7500 words into De-Wolfed Ben, and right at the climax. Hopefully I'll wrap it in the next 1500 words or so.

I've also got a first line and a better hook for the Chambliss story. It involves adding yet more romance, which is not exactly my strong suit, but I'll muddle through and make do.

But first I need to write the steampunk story, since it's the one with the, you know, actual deadline. As soon as I finish De-Wolfed Ben, that one is next on my plate. Perhaps I'll post an in-progress snippet soon, but don't hold your breath. For some reason, this part is giving me fits. I know what happens and where it needs to go, it's just that getting there is not half the fun, it's a slog.

But at least I don't hate the story. Win.
agilebrit: (wolf eyes)
That moment when you realize that what you thought was Pinch 1 was actually still part of Plot Turn 1.

I'm having all kinds of problems with my last two outlines. I finally figured out who the "villain" is in the Superhero Christmas story, so that's at least progress. I haven't even looked at the Chambliss one for a few days.

Hopefully, MisCon (specifically, the bar) will give me the last push I need to put these to bed. I tend to get actual work done at conventions, and Friday is thin for panels, so I guess we'll see. I'll be incognito most of the day tomorrow as I drive to Missoula; I hope to get an early start and be in town by no later than eight.

Wheeeeeee.
agilebrit: (Straight from the Bottle)
The final three outlines for the June NaNo project are being recalcitrant. I finally banged out Pinch 2 for the Chambliss Story, but the other two are sitting there mocking me. I have 11 days to work these things up before I start writing in earnest on June 1, and the one I really should be working on (the steampunk one for this, isn't coming together at all.

I may go to the coffee shop an hour or so early tomorrow night and do some work in a different environment.

...I'm emphasizing words. This is probably a bad thing.
agilebrit: (Facepalm2)
Finally?

You know, I had some pithy things to say about moviemaking and Marvel vs DC and storytelling and all that happy horse poo, but since LJ has been recalcitrant over the past two days about letting me post, all those thoughts have completely flown out of my head. I may go through my IMDB posts later tomorrow and try to get something coherent out of that dog's breakfast of this week's edition of "Arguing with Idiots," or I may not. Right now it's up in the air.

One good thing all this wrangling with DC fanboys gave me was the hook for the third outline I need for my June NaNo push. Some idiot Some person said that setting IM3 during Christmas was "confusing" and that no superhero movies ever should be set during the holidays because they're all big summer blockbusters. Never mind that Thor 2 is out in November, that Die Hard came out in July, or that The Fugitive (which is set during St. Patrick's Day) came out in August. NO. IM3 being set during Christmas is not to be borne. Or something, IDEK.

Anyway. My hook for my 3rd outline is: *drumroll* Superhero story set during Christmas. Can he save the city from supervillains in time to open presents without giving away his secret identity?

So now I have Hooks. I just need Story.
agilebrit: (Write Dammit)
Involves Chambliss's backstory. Part of the problem is that I want to weave it into a present-day narrative as well.

I think I've figured out how to do this--I'll flip back and forth between backstory and present-day, and then bring it to a head where he has to decide if he's going to stay here or go back to the Fae realm. He doesn't particularly belong in either place. A woman who loves him is in Fae, but his adopted family is here.

I'm just not sure I have the chops to pull this off. Not only that, but it may very well be knocking on novella territory, which is a hard sell anywhere. But, you know what? I don't honestly care about "hard sell," I care about telling the story I want to tell.

So. It's an ambitious project. And I guess I'll find out if I can do it when I try.
agilebrit: (Guri praise the Lord)
In this case, I got to cross off "edit UFO story." It is edited, finished, and out the door.

I also crossed off "write Fearful Symmetries" and "edit Fearful Symmetries," because I decided to send them CatFeet instead. And thus the Addiction Vamp outline got moved to the NaNo folder, and I also got to cross off "outline #4 for NaNo."

So, now, I need three more outlines for NaNo, and a blurb for not!Iron Man. I have ideas for two of those outlines, and the blurb won't really be that difficult, although I should sit down and re-read Not!Iron Man just to refresh my memory on it. This will not be a hardship, as I love that story to itty-bitty pieces.

It's nice to see more items crossed off than items I still need to do on that list. I'm not feeling quite so overwhelmed anymore.
agilebrit: (Tired & Long-suffering)
I have penned over 75000 words across eight stories since January. That is a lot of words for me in a very short period of time.

And that may be one reason why I can't get any momentum up for this new story. It might not be that there's something wrong with the outline or the story itself; it might just be that my brain is tired.

So. At this point, I'm not going to sweat that story. I have another one I can sub to the antho I had in mind for it, and if this one gets written before the deadline, that's fine, but it's not an absolute necessity. Meanwhile, I have four more outlines to gin up for June, and Hook for two of them. So that's next on my plate.

Outlines keep the Writer Brain engaged without overtaxing it, I think. So, at this point, I think that's what I'm going to do: concentrate on the outlines and mentally prep for June.
agilebrit: (Write Dammit)
And that means I need to gin up five outlines for the June NaNo push, plus the outline for the Fearful Symmetries antho.

I do at least have notions for two of those outlines. One will be for the Salt City Steam Writer's Challenge, and the other will be (yet another) story in the sprawling 'verse that encompasses Ben and Alex. That one will be about Alex's butler, who is a mysterious figure and could use some illumination, I think.

I wouldn't mind doing another casefic for Ben, and something about the Moab Monsters that I've played around with in both fanfic and in the second Ben novel (which will never see the light of day, but which I'm also perfectly willing to cannibalize for ideas).

I have a blurb to write for not!Iron Man, too.

So, apparently once you get serious about this writing thing, it never ends.

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