Saving Brackett Station Available Sept 1

Saving Brackett Station coverBeen another good week.

Finished the first draft of The Prince and sent it out for review.

Started production work on Saving Brackett Station. Worked up the cover and header images for the final release and will start on the interior material soon. Shouldn’t take too long as I have a template that makes sure I don’t forget something across the three distribution networks I upload to. The story is set for release on Sept 1, 2015. Man, I am getting official now.

Got another three chapters for Built for Murder done. Only 5 more to go and that novel will be complete. I swear its like pulling teeth some days trying to remember all the little details and make sure I include them all as I work, but we’re getting there. Did additional work on plotting the next Rambles mystery as well. Let’s just say if I ain’t writing I’m working on some other project or the other.

Have had a contractor around all this week as well repairing stuff that needed it in order to make the house more attractive to potential buyers. Yes, you heard it here, I’m planning on leaving Austin next spring. Eventually, I’ll end up somewhere in Michigan, probably north of Mt. Pleasant but no definite location yet. Will play it by ear once I’m up there.

So lots going on, lots to do, stories to write and novels to complete.

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Another Good Week

Losing my Shit!Not as awesome a production week as the previous one but still very good progress on multiple fronts. Instead of maximizing word count I was into maximizing project completion while contractors swarmed all over my yard making noise.

Also, I don’t have a dog and its way after the 4th holiday but I just have to share the image on the right. It feels so – true.

Onto the weekly specifics:

  • Saving Brackett Station has gone through review, been torn apart, and then put back together, stronger and better than before. Just finished the second edit so it’s ready for a final review phase. Final word count is 5,851 as of today.
  • The Prince, my newest short story was completed earlier today as well. It comes in at around 7,850 words for its first draft. Needs a review to catch those initial mistakes and then it’ll be sent out for alpha-readers to tear apart.
  • Some additions/clean-up on Built for Murderbut nothing to write home about.

Between the edits and writing new material I managed somewhere north of 4,850 words for the week. The days where I did nothing but write were 1,400 words on Mon, 1,475 on  Thurs, and 1,975 on Sat. Not really bad for the week. The other days my wrists ached and fingers were too numb to type, so I took some time off away from the keyboard.

Still, plenty of progress. SBS is on track for publication in September, and if TP survives reviews I expect it to be ready for October. In addition, I plan to place it into my first short story collection I’m going to call Tales of Bulinnärm also slated for October release. It will be my first book length release since my programming books released in the mid 1990’s. I’m also planning to set it up in CreateSpace so that physical POD copies will be available for those that want them. Another first.

This week I’m planning to devote my time to finishing Built for Murder. For some reason the final chapters won’t settle in my head and I’m having problems getting them placed correctly. But, once I solve that little problem I think I might be able to complete it real soon now! And won’t that be a relief.

Well, time’s a wasting, so its back to work for me.

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An Awesome Week of Writing

The Prince coverSince Monday I’ve managed to average almost 1,600 words per day for a total of 9,555 words on various projects.

The majority of work went into Built for Murder with another three chapters within spitting distance of being done and miscellaneous work on others to write connecting scenes or just editing for clarity. We’re over 80,000 words now and heading to a final first draft. Soon, very soon.

Then, since I get bored easily I switched to one of my short stories and worked on it as well, the semi-long and suffering sequel to A Painful Blessing called An Angry Mountain. It was like butter writing it this time.

And then, because I can’t seem to stop at times, I awoke on Friday with yet another damn story idea that has since become something I call The Prince. As I began writing the essentials down to remember for later I started a scene, that led to the next, then some world building, and by Saturday night its 75% of the way done with only two more scenes to write. It flowed, it sang, it was so darn easy to do. I managed to place it in the same world as Hieronymus and Ancher, but in an area of Bulinnärm I’ve never documented before, so yeah for me! In addition, there’s the core of an idea that I think can be expanded into a novel or even a trilogy. And yes, I know I don’t need another one of those hanging over me right now.

What brought on this burst of energy and creative madness? I’ve been reading my whole life and I think I have a pretty good idea of how a story flows to make it work, when to introduce new elements, when slow things down, etc. I’m not perfect yet but I am getting better. Anyway, I was looking at my long list of projects shown in the right column and was despairing because some had started out well and then the energy and ideas faded and they got bogged down. What to do, what to do?

I went back to some of my writing books and videos I’ve collected that have great ideas for organizing yourself to become a better writer. The first was Rachel Aaron’s 2K to 10K: Writing Faster book. Lots of great advice on learning when, why, and how you do your best writing. Then I rewatched Dan Well’s presentation of the 7 Point Plot Structure he uses to  shape his novels. He shows how a simple list of critical points can help you design an effective story and shows how it applies to the first Harry Potter movie, Star Wars, and other popular movies.

So, the commonality was to actually sit down, do some planning up-front, and then write using the best time of day and when my energy is at it’s height.

Voilá, 1,600 words a day and a ton of writing progress made. My wrists ache and my fingers are so stiff it really isn’t funny and yet, the ideas, the desire still exists and so I’m writing yet another long blog post when I should be letting them rest. Whew!

I really need to take a break.

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Another Chapter Completed

I know the killer! Okay, I knew who it was earlier but now I could talk about them.

The new plot I worked up over the weekend was inspiring. Managed to write over 2200 words today on  Built for Murder following my outline. Before I did that I went to the binder sources in Scrivener and rearranged them into the approximate order of my outline. That filled about half of each chapter and informed me of what I had left to do.

And then I wrote the final chapter.

Writing the conclusion may seem counter-intuitive but was really quite easy to do. I didn’t have to push or pull other scenes into order, write connecting scenes or dialogue, or even think about any of the problems Erich still needs to discover or solve. Instead, I just closed up all my plot threads as effectively as possible and called the first draft done. For that chapter anyway.

Seven other chapters to work on with only two totally empty. I may finally be on the downward slope of this writing project.

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The State of Things

The Spotter Detective from the British LibrarySent a new version of Saving Brackett Station out for review. One of the early readers thought the beginning was a bit slow, and I agreed. Over a few hours of editing I managed to winnow the text from approximately 5,600 words to 5,000 without breaking the setup and hopefully speeding up the beginning. I know, who’d have thunk I had it in me? So now it’s out on its second round of beta-readers, and I’ve offered it to my writing group as well for the next meeting. Should be in great shape in a couple of weeks so time to turn my attention elsewhere.

It’s a tradeoff though. I have all these ideas on converting the starting section of An Empire Forgotten into a novella tentatively titled Alexiandrölarn for more immediate release, but realize that’s just avoidance behavior on my part. I’ve got eight more chapters to finish before Built for Murder‘s initial draft is complete. That has to be my focus for the next few weeks if I plan to get it out for the xmas holiday rush.

Decisions, decisions.

So, I know what I’ve got to do but gosh darn it, I’ve got so many other interesting projects to work on. I keep reminding myself that the last 10% of a project takes 90% of the effort and if I’d just get it done I could move onto others sooner. I’ve done it before so I know it’s possible, just need to grit my teeth, face into the headwind, and do the work.

In other news, Blizzard announced the next expansion for World of Warcraft, something they’re calling Legion, and which I call the kitchen sink. The presentation they gave was so underwhelming it was almost boring. They had a few good ideas mixed into the whole (separate PvP talents, etc.) but overall it left me thinking they really didn’t care about the player base at all and that other forces (money, corporate profit) were driving their design decisions. I have little faith this new one will match the former high points of Burning Crusade or Wrath of the Lich King, but hey, it could happen, right?

Finally, the British Library has scanned and released 1 million images to Flickr for public sharing and enjoyment. Some of them, like the book cover shown above are just so different, but in a good way, It’s nice to see just how far we’ve come since it’s publication.

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