December 31, 2015 / 3 Comments

Last Year’s Resolution

            One last post squeezed in before I head out to play games and drink with friends.  Hopefully you’ve got some wonderful plans for closing out the year as well.  But first…
            Let’s talk about what we got done this year.
            My big goal for this year, like it has been for two or three years now, was to get two novels done.  It’s a goal I keep stretching for and always fall short.  I’m not sure if I can reach it or not, but I keep trying.
            How’d I do?
            Well, a good chunk of this year was taken up by Ex-Isle.  I struggled with this one a lot, for a few reasons, and a good chunk of that was my own fault.  I’d done a fair amount of work on it last year and then even more this year.  My editor looked at what I handed in and… well, he knew I could do better.  So I went back, hacked, slashed, and came up with a much nicer, cleaner book.  It’s the longest Ex book to date, word-count wise.  Tweaks and layouts on this carried us right into October, and I ended up adding a new chapter at… well, not the eleventh hour, but pretty close to 10:30.
            You’ll get to see if that was all worth it in just five weeks…
            When The Fold came out in June I did a bunch of promo stuff for it, including interviews and a half dozen or so original articles for a few different sites.
            For the past few months I’ve been working on my new project which is, as yet, untitled.  I’ve mentioned it here a few times, and I’m sure you’ll be hearing more about it next year.  I’m about 2/3 in at this point, and if all goes well I’m hoping my beta readers will be seeing it in late February or so.
            I also polished up a short-short story for the Naughty or Nice holiday anthology.  It was an idea I’d had a while back and getting invited to the anthology was just the kick in the pants I needed to make it worthwhile.  Plus, it’s for charity, so you score actual karma points when you buy a copy.
            Counting this one, I’ve done 42 posts for the ranty blog here, plus another 34 for the geeky hobby-based blog I keep up elsewhere.
            That’s what I wrote this year.
            What did you get done?
            To be honest… I’m a little upset with myself.  I was really ashamed of that first Ex-Isle draft my editor saw.  I’d also really hoped to have the new project out to beta readers by now, so I’m a solid two months behind where I’d planned to be.  I would’ve felt justified, at that point, in saying I had two novels finished.
            Yeah, maybe this sounds a little shallow to some of you.  I mean, I get to make my own schedule, write for a living, and here I am complaining about how much more I wanted to do.  Sounds pretty damned good as is, doesn’t it?
            Thing is, as we’ve discussed here many times before, good enough is never enough.  Good enough will never get a career going, and it won’t keep one going.  We have to be willing to push ourselves to be better, and to keep pushing ourselves.  We all need to set new, higher goals.
            One could even call them resolutions, if they were so inclined.
            With that in mind… what do you want to do next year?
            I hope you all have a peaceful and safe New Year.  Don’t drink and drive, be good to people, and kiss someone you love at midnight.
            We’ll talk again in 2016.
            Until then… go party responsibly.
            And then come home and write.
January 1, 2015 / 6 Comments

The Just-Under-The-Wire Post

             So, end of the year (by mere minutes, in some places).  We all know what that means.  Time to cash out the register, put the chairs up, and turn the lights out for the last time. 
            Well, the last time in 2014, anyway.
            It’s also a good time to look back at what we accomplished in the past year.  It’s fine to read a lot of books and online help and tips (like those offered here), but at the end of the day… we need to write. It all comes down to that.  If I’m not writing… well, I’m not much of a writer.
            So…. what did I write this year?
            Most of this year was devoted to The Fold, my upcoming sci-fi/ mystery/ horror novel.  It was a rough project, to say the least.  I put it through about six drafts myself because I didn’t really know what the story was for a while (I knew the plot, yeah, but the story really floundered there for a while). And then my editor pointed out a bunch of stuff and it went through two more drafts past that.  Getting that one book into good shape was about eight months of the year.  Look for it on June 2nd of this year.  It’s my first hardcover and I’m… well, mildly terrified.
            I was incredibly flattered to be invited to an X-Files anthology.  It was one of my favorite shows in the ‘90s and I have tons of memories associated with it.  I believe you’ll get to read “The Beast of Little Hill” in March, along with other stories by some much better-known  authors.
            I also polished up “Bedtime Story,” a little piece for the re-release of an anthology called Corrupts Absolutely.  It’s about superheroes gone bad.  I had to pass on the anthology the first time around because of other commitments, but with the re-release the editor wanted some new stories and asked if I was still interested.  I think you’ll see that in a few months, too.
            And since October or so I’ve been working on Ex-Isle, the fifth book in the Ex-Heroes series.  It’s a bit of an experiment, on a few levels, because I’m approaching it in a way that’s all new to me.  You’ll probably get a post at some point next year talking about it a bit (and whether or not it worked for me)
            Scattered through the year I did half a dozen written interviews with different sources that talked about writing, including a great one that just appeared in Albedo One.  I did a dozen posts over on my geeky hobby blog (a pathetically low number). And there was a guest post on my gaming club’s page about Chaos and storytelling and expectations.
            Then, of course, there were forty-one ranty posts here.  Better than last year, but still not as good as I’ve done at some points in the past.
            All in all, that’s not too bad.  But I’ll be honest—I’m hoping to do a lot more in 2015.  I already have a bunch of projects lined up, plus one or two things I’m hoping to squeeze in during my free time. There were some headaches that stressed me out and slowed me down this year, and without them gnawing at me for a large chunk of the year I think I can be much more productive.
            How about you?  What did you get done this year?  Everything you wanted?  Most of what you wanted? 
            If not, what was slowing you down?  Don’t make excuses—be honest with yourself.  As I’ve said before, it’s impossible to make progress if I can’t look honestly at mywriting.  So why didn’t these things get done?
            Let’s all think about that as we make our New Year’s resolutions.
            That being said, Happy New Year to you all.  Be responsible, don’t drink and drive, and kiss someone you love when the clock strikes twelve.  I’ll see you all again in 2015.
            And after you wake up tomorrow…