Hey, you should have seen this coming . . . it worked for Stargate SG-1, so it’ll work for me.

Today has been crazy.  I’ve been off to get the oil changed in my car, and we’re preparing to head out to see Tintin in about an hour.  I’ve been working on the edits to Kuntilanak, and I’m about 11 pages through . . . and, damn, man.  The edit is coming along, it’s coming along nice, and I hope to finish it tonight or tomorrow.  Maybe tomorrow.  But it’s going to be loaded up nice and clean (fingers crossed!) when I’m done.

Also today: last chapter of the NaNo Novel.  3,200 or so words and I put that baby to bed.  I’ve learned a lot from doing the edit, and as I read what I created through the month of November, I’m still amazed by what I created.  It is great?  I don’t know, but I like reading it.  And I like the ideas it gives me for other stories in this universe.  Before I get to that point, though, I need to polish this and get it published.  I’ve got a call out for someone to edit, but she’s not hearing me . . . time to text!

The Work in Progress . . . hum.  Because of the work I’m doing on Kuntilanak, I’ve put that on hold, because I have an important part coming up and I don’t want to just throw words in that part for the sake of writing.  I want it to be a good first draft.  And this will work, because with the NaNo Novel and the Kuntilanak edits finishing up at the same time, that should allow me to spend the first week of the year completing my WiP.  Wow.  Think of that.  Sounds like I’m really working on something.

I had some good moments in 2011, and they will stay with me for a long time.  I want 2012 to be a better one of me, a much better one.  I want to write more stories.  I want to see more thing published.  I want to entertain my readers.

I want to keep this blog going.  Because it gives me a reason to communicate with people who might just want to see what I have to say.

I’ll be honest: the month of December was a strange one for me.  I’ve kept busy working, but at  the same time I’ve been fighting off some very depressing feelings, and at times it’s left me torn in ways I sometimes find difficult to explain.  I’m going through a lot of changes on my end–oh, it’s very true–and I want, I so very want, for 2012 to be the year when those changes stop messing with me and let me . . . just be myself.  We’ll see what happens.

For today, I say goodbye to a year that really did it’s best to kick me in the head.

And, in a way, it also showed me things that I didn’t realize still existed for me.

I guess I could say that makes it all, in a strange way, worthwhile.

Now lets see what tomorrow brings, shall we?

Bittersweet Me

Post 199, and the penultimate for the year.  The name of tomorrow’s post will be easy; you may have even guessed it already.

As much as I’ve hated 2011, last night I felt like something was ending that has made an impact on me throughout the year.  As I said, some thing that went down in 2011 were horrible, mostly due to the crushing depression I felt.  Believe me, there were times when things got so bad you just wanted to find a meat grinder to shove your head into.

But there were also things that happens that made it all worth while.  They brought me joy and a bit of happiness when I needed it, and I’m very thankful for those.

Like all good things, though, you wonder if they are lasting.  I know one will.  I know it will always be there . . . but for the moment it’s in flux.  Right now it’s all different.  And how will it be in the future?  Who knows?  You can never tell what tomorrow is going to bring, and if there is one thing I know, it’s that 2012 will be a lot different for me.

I do know I will push on with my writing.  Though after the marathon I was on yesterday, today I feel like I need a break.  Finished up a part of the new story, knocked off another chapter for the NaNo Novel, and ended up editing some 20 or so pages for my story Kuntilanak.

Oi.  Did I find a few errors.  Not a lot; maybe 7, 8 of them, but one was so bad . . . jeez, I don’t know how we missed it.  But I’m not gonna beat myself up over it.  Just make some changes and move on.  And hope it’s going to go easier the next time.  We’ll see.  All I know is that idea I had about self-publishing a novel?  Not without a couple of people helping with the edits.

The biggest project I have for 2012 is going to be getting my first novel finished and edited.  It’s such a monster, and working through that sucker is going to take a large block of my time.  I also want to find a publisher for my NaNo Novel.  It looks good and feels good and reads good, and gosh darn it, I think people will like it.  Does that mean anyone wants to read this stuff?  Who knows?  But I want to see it out there.  I want to see people reading it.

And if I can get it published, I can continue writing about the characters I created.  I know of at least two stories that can follow the original novel; one idea that I had a while back while I was still in the process of writing my NaNo Novel, and another that I just came up with a few days ago, where I saw my role playing character, and his girlfriend, being a part of the world where my novel takes place.  I would love to write these, in particular the last, if for no other reason than I have stories I want to tell, and this is my way of telling them.

At least I have ideas bouncing about inside my head.

Just a matter of whipping the suckers out into the light of day.

Getting Down to Change

Post 198, and there are two days remaining to the year that is 2011.  I have pretty much written it off, and I’m looking to the future.  That’s really all there is to do, and I know to look back on the past is to keep it close to your heart.

And I’ve enough of that these days.

Today has been a day of writing, writing, writing.  I popped off 600 words on the new story and finished the scene.  For some reason it doesn’t feel right to me, but that doesn’t matter now, because when it comes time to edit I’ll see how to make it better.  My first draft feels good, however, and that’s the thing that is important.  If I can get a first draft that’s very well defined, then the edit comes along even better.

Which is how I’m feeling about my NaNo Novel.  When I say I’m rewriting, I’m just changing things here and there.  The story is solid; the prose is good.  I’m not doing a major change to the plot; no, I got that right the first time around.  So it’s all about tightening the story, cleaning it up.

Again, getting it right.

However . . . I had someone buy my story Kuntilanak the other day, and they gave me great feedback.  They loved the story–but!  They found a few errors.  And errors piss me off.  Trusty Editortm and I went through a couple of edits of the story, and we had it very clean.  But now, going through it again, I found the errors, and one was so freakin’ big I about kicked myself.  So, this afternoon I’ve been going through the document, and I’ll get it cleaned up over the next couple of days and upload a new copy.  And take what I’ve learned from this publication and apply them to future stories.

Last night I was thinking about my role playing character, Kerry, and his girlfriend Annie, and it hit me: I know of a way to do them in a story, and to make it a story that pulls in their history and makes it there own, and allow them to be characters in their own way.  How?  If I told you now I’d give too much away.  Needless to say, if I ever write that story, it will feel bittersweet.  The story would also feel a little strange, because it happens in an existing universe–but I know how to put it into a universe of my own.  I so love these kids . . . I never want them to vanish.

Because when someone has been one of the only good things about 2011, you certainly want to keep them around forever.  Don’t you?

Take a Chance on Me

The year is really winding down for me.  Mostly due to my crappy Comcast broadband, which is being choked again–they seem to do this once a month, and since Christmas this sucker has been running so slow it’s difficult to get into sites that normally load in a few seconds.  Ah, yes: I love it when monopolies hand out broadband like someone dishing out porridge to Oliver Twist.  I mean, I only do everything on the internet these days, so what’s the big deal?

The Writing . . . ah, yes, the Writing.  Another chapter down–number 20.  4 more to do in 4 days.  Or maybe 5.  I haven’t decided yet.  But the time I crank out post 200 on Saturday I’ll know for sure.  But yesterday, I did 4,500 words in two chapters, and it was nice and fast and never once did I feel like I was getting bogged.  Whatever hump was messing with me must have vanished, or its at least decided to leave me alone.

The Work in Progress is coming along swimmingly.  I pulled another 700 words or so from somewhere, and as of last night the WiP was up to a grand total of 11,111 words.  Yeah, I like that number.  I think the current section I’m in will finish quickly, then it’s on to another part that is, I think, going to be very sad to write, then two more sections after that and, boom!  Another story bites the dust.  What to do with that after that?  We’ll see.

And that’s really the question that comes up in my mind–besides all the other kinky things.  What to do with this?  Self publish this not-so-short story?  Should I?  That would be the easy way to do it, but . . . I think not.  It’s part of a series of stories I want to write, and part of that involves getting out my huge work in progress first novel.  So that means I have a lot of work ahead of me if I want to edit and finish that sucker.

So far I’ve been lucky.  I’ve gotten one story self published, and I did such a good job editing and formatting it that it bounced right up there without getting sent back to me as “This needs more formatting!”  And the same with the erotic story I submitted and will be published in May.  First time in, and I have a sale.

Am I gonna have that happen with my novel?  Probably not.

That doesn’t mean I’m not going to try to get my work out there.  2012 is good for something besides the world coming to an end.  (Wait, didn’t that happen twice in 2011?  Or was it three times?  Should I just forget the whole supermoon thing from back in March?)  This is a time for change, it really is.  I have a feel it’s all leading up to something, and that something will be–

Well, I don’t know if it’ll be good.  But it’s going to be different.

And different, right now, beats the hell out of what I do have going on.

Countdown to the End

This post, the one you are (I hope) reading, is my 196th post.  Which means, when I do the math with the aid of a calender next to my monitor–the same monitor under which my muse Cthulhu sits–I find that my 200th post will come on the last day of  the year, 31 December, 2011.

I have a place on Facebook–I mean, who doesn’t?–and a comment I made yesterday pretty much sums up my feelings:  “I am speaking unequivocally when I say 2011 can kiss my ass.”  I can’t stress how much 2011 has been the total suck for me.  Not that everything from 2008 on hasn’t been hunky-dory, but 2011 was one of those where I wish I could first up the TARDIS and just do it over, because the first time around was pretty much a non-stop crotch punch.

I shouldn’t say that.  There were a few bright spots, but they were few and far between.  One of the things that came out of 2011 is this blog.  Which, to be honest, almost didn’t happen.  I started at the end of April, wrote through May, and then June rolled around . . . and that was it.  Just stopped.  Why?  Couldn’t find enough reason to come out here and write, that’s why.

Now a days I write about writing and whatever else comes to mind.  I find I have more reason to come out here and speak my mind, or tell people about what I’m doing, and it does me some good to see I do have a few people who follow me regularly.  Maybe one of these days I’ll have hundreds of people following me all the time.  Right now I have . . . tens of followers, but they do follow me, and I love you all.

The writing has been one of the things that’s really kicked in for me.  I’ve published a story (and if you haven’t downloaded it yet, what are you waiting for?), and I’ve sold another that will be published May, 2012.  I’ve got one novel under my belt, my infamous NaNo Novel, which is getting closer to being completely edited, and I have a new Work in Progress, is which getting closer to being a completed first draft.

Yes, I have my struggles with writing.  It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, and now, as I close in on 55, I truly hope this is what I do for the next 20, 25 years.  But I always have the struggle going on in my head that what I’m doing is a waste of time, that I’m never going to be anything but a hack, that no one really wants to see what I have to say.  I think all writers go through this, and the only way to get over this feeling is to keep doing what you are doing.  Maybe you won’t bank butt loads of cash and become the next Stephen King.  But if your last name ends in “K”, then maybe one day you’ll see your book on the shelve next to his, and that’s something any writer can savor.

Something felt different yesterday.  I rolled through 600 words on my WiP and finished Part 6, and then I hopped into the NaNo Novel and did Chapter 18, and 5,350 later I was finished with the edit.  And it all felt very good while I was doing both.  Yes, I had a little bit of an issues getting the words to flow with the WiP, but still–600 words came.  That project is over 10,400 now, and I’m feeling like the rest may just come with more ease.  We’ll see.  It’s a very personal work, and I think my need to “get it right” is what’s causing me to work at it slowly.

I’m still of the feeling that I can get the NaNo Novel finished by the 31st, but looking at the word counts last night that’s only going to happen if I do two chapters today.  Which I can’t do, but . . . this isn’t a contest.  If I finish up the revised draft on 1 January, 2012, maybe that’s a better omen for things to come, because that becomes my first written and edited novel evar, and that’s something to hold close to my heart.  It’s something else that reaffirms that 2011 was nothing but Teh Sux, and I should keep looking ahead.

What is to come?  We’ll see.  I want to do more stories.  I want to edit a monster of a novel that might just take more of the winter and spring of 2012.

I just want to keep going.

‘Cause the alliterative is too depressing.

Outside the Boxing Day

How does one deal with the day after Christmas?  Well, in my case, you get up and . . . write.

Are you surprised?

I suppose it’s a good sign that the first thing on my mind when I crawled out of bed was  to finish Part 5 of my Work in Progress.  I’d left it with only a few hundred words to go when I’d put it away yesterday, and today the 600 words I needed to finish the part came very easy.  So this part, which is by far the largest (3,755 words), took several days to knock off and pushed my WiP to 10,400 words.

I know the next part is probably going to be short–maybe 600, 700 words–and I might tackle that later tonight, when I’m in the mood to get it out of the way.  I’ve reset my Scrivener Short Story Target to 15,000 words, and if I’m lucky I’ll hit that.  If not, I gotta find a way to stop being so wordy.

Hey, the reality is I’m enjoying writing all this, but I really need to discover how to say a lot more in a lot less.  Then again, I know three of the remaining four parts will probably be around a thousand words or so each, so keeping the story in the novelette range shouldn’t be difficult.  I just never thought this sucker would run 15,000 words.  Shows what I know; these damn stories tend to go off on their own.

I still have editing ahead of me . . . and for some reason I’m finding that a daunting task.  I know what it is, because I fell into this feeling when I was writing my NaNo Novel.  It’s the idea that I’m almost done, the work is very close to being completed, and now I have to deal with the next step after that.  I have one friend saying I should get a couple of people to read the proto-novel, though I’m hesitant to do that.  Not because I feel they’ll savage my work, but because I don’t really want to loan it out to someone I don’t know very well.

But I will find a way for it to get looked over one last time before I . . . what?  What will I do with it?  Publication is the ultimate goal, and that’s going to involve hunting down companies and sending out inquiries.  Yeah, it’s work, but it’s work I need to do if I want this to work.  If I want others to read it.  That’s what’s at stake here.  Yes, I can self publish again, but I don’t want to go that route.  I would love to see my work in a brick and mortar store, and that’s what’s going to happen.

Or I’m going to get a hell of a lot of rejections.  We’ll see which it is.

So onward.  Boxing Day is upon us, and 2011 is close to giving up the ghost.  I have a lot to do between now and next Sunday’s greeting of 2012–

Which is suppose to be the end of the world as we know it.

I don’t care.  I feel fine.  About my writing, that is.

The Deadwood Express

You know, when something is advertised as “The Christmas Special”, one would believe that said special won’t air on Christmas Eve, but rather on, you know, Christmas.  So, regardless what I said yesterday about sitting down to watch the Doctor Who Christmas Special last night, it didn’t happen.  Of course not.

Because last night wasn’t Christmas!

So that meant it was a long night.  Just like tonight will be a long night.  Actually it’ll be a long day.  Christmas always is for me.

I’m not big on the holiday.  I don’t have any religious skin in the game, so there’s nothing tying me down there.  And I’m not big on the idea of spending tons of money we don’t have on shit we don’t need, so the oohing and aahing of presenting is over in about 5 minutes.  I got a belt, by the way.

Personally, I’d rather feast like a mofo and engage in mad carnal delights–you know, the way Yule used to be before getting ripped off by everyone else.  Hey, man:  bring on the Wild Hunt!  ‘Cause who doesn’t want to see some eight-legged monstrosity birthed by some god’s son after they were horse-raped go roaring past your house in search of good times?  Go, Sleipnir!

So to paraphrase the immortal Rocky Balboa, “It’s Christmas for you, but to me, it’s Sunday”.  I’ll finish my chapter edit, which got way bent out of shape yesterday because of all the running around I did (hey, I had to get stuff for dinner; a girl’s job is never done), and maybe do a little writing on the Work in Progress.

I did some writing last night–sort of.  Since it was Christmas music know on just about every channel of streaming music I have, I got onto YouTube and started streaming a lot of the stuff I like to hear.  And I thought about an event that hasn’t happened yet, but will . . .

There is an event in the life of my role playing character, Kerry, that happens during his third year at his magical school.  Since he’s really into flying his broom (he’s a geek, what do you want?), he takes two years of advanced flying, and in the middle of the third year teams go off on what is known as Polar Express.  This is a nice way of saying you and another person get dumped in the middle of nowhere–said dumping is done magically at something like a minute after midnight on a Friday morning, so you have no way of knowing where you are until morning–and you have three days to fly home. That’s it.  Oh, did I mention this happens in the middle of January?  And that you’re going to get dumped somewhere in Canada?  Maybe really far away?  With just enough food to keep you happy for about 2 days, but you have 3 days to make it back?

Didn’t think so.

Being the crazy writing/player I am, I’ve spent months since dreaming up this event wondering two things: what’s the path Kerry flies, and how long does it take him and his partner?  Oh, sure, I had ideas, but with me, I needed to know.

And when I need to know something, it’s never simple.

First, I used the Time and Date website to find the “future” date this all takes place.  Then I pulled up two other websites:  Daft Logic’s Google Maps Distance Calculator, and The Sky View Cafe.  I use all of these a lot when I’m working on something, only because they are, to me, sort of invaluable when I want to figure out stuff on the ground and in the sky.

Of course the Distance Calculator showed me how far Kerry and his “wingperson” Emma traveled–or should I refer to them by their call signs, “Starbuck” and “Selene”?–but with the Sky View Cafe I can punch in locations and dates and times, and see what the sky looks like, day or night.  This shows me where the sun is in the sky, and how high it gets, and it gives me an idea of when sunrise and sunset are.  Hint: in the far north, sunrise is late, sunset is early, and the sun stays low in the sky.

So while Close to the Edge was playing over and over in the background, I’m looking at satellite images of map, setting up checkpoints while figuring out distances traveled, and getting longitudes and latitudes so I can get an idea about the sort of light available at a given time–like when Kerry and Emma make a mad dash across James Bay and enter Quebec just as a blizzard hits them as it’s getting dark.

It was a good way to spend the evening, plotting out this path, getting a map made (of which I have two versions), establishing a time line (yeah, they pull into the school a lot later than expected because they’ve been running behind due to flying in severe cold, and having visual flight rules pretty much shot to hell for the last day), and just imagining all the things that happen during those three incredible days.

Though the test is known as the Polar Express–for obvious reasons that don’t involve the Uncanny Valley–by the end of the first day Kerry starts calling it the Deadwood Express, because as they “enjoy” resting at their encampment some 70 miles beyond Fort Sevren after a day of flying in near-0 degree conditions, he feels the only way to express his emotions at 8 PM that night is to launch into an Al Swearengen-style rant involving a lot of words 13 year old boys shouldn’t be saying, but sometimes do.

Hey, at least it keeps his traveling companion amused.  And isn’t that what story telling is all about?