Man, I say this A LOT!

July huh? When did that happen? I’m guessing right after June, but these days I can never be quite sure. Still, it’s only 3 months since I last updated so…

So anyway, things are awesome! The construction firm has had three months so flat that I almost poured maple syrup on them. So many keys have come off my writing machine that I’ve had to stash it in file 13 and I’m growing a bloody rhino horn. 

Despite my new snout adornment, the failing business (technically I picked up 2 contracts today, so I can eat next month) and a bout of Venusian flu, I have actually managed to get some writing done.

 I didn’t keep up my book a month game  (I’ve always had a habit of setting goals I can’t reach), but I do have a collection of short fiction in various genres ready to roll. It’s edited, formatted and just waiting for some cover art (obviously I spout about it when I’m done).

Also, I’m currently (well, not right this second) working on a bit of space opera. It goes a little something like this:

After being abandoned on a freight-hub world, a mercenary spends his time hunting vermin to gain enough money to get his kit out of hock and his arse off world. After turning down worm as a hired gun due to some personal reasons, he crosses a bunch of pirates, he finds himself picking up the gig he wanted to avoid.

There’s more to it, and it’s coming along nicely. Of course, I’d like to get it done and out by the month’s end, but we both know late August is more realistic. Again, I’ll keep you posted.

I think that’s enough from me, mostly because my take-away has arrived.

Updates. Updates. Not a lot of Updates!

Well February went fast. Shifted out the window with the speed of a greased-up burglar. I wanted to get an update on here every week of this year, but I guess that shifty little tea leaf made off with all my time and motivation.

Actually, I have plenty of motivation, it just happens to be for other projects. In my last update I mentioned my good buddy is currently living it large in China and before he left I said I’d drop him a novelette/novella every month he’s away.

The first Chinese Offering is coming along strong. I’m about 40% through the second rewrite and still set to finish up E.O.B Monday. As usual my weekend is jam packed busy, but to (mis)quote the anathema of my youth you gotta live while you’re alive and sleep when you’re dead.

The first offering will be one of six. The current is a two-fisted pulp horror yarn featuring a messed up smuggler and a group of nefarious cultists. Unlike my previous offerings, it’s set in modern day England with a low magic garnish. 

Anyway, if I’m going to get finished on schedule, I’d best bugger off back to the corner 

Happy Epileptic Lust Plague Day

Of all the bullshit festivals that are pushed annually in an effort to part us from our hard-earned, this is the one I hate most.  Not only was the ‘celebration’ first mentioned by that professional fibber Chaucer, but it only really came to prominence in the 19th century. Two guys who had nothing better to do with their time wanted to Christianise an ancient mid-february pagan festival (possibly Imbolc but I don’t read about that stuff anymore) and decided to go for some fruity love fool as champion. 

Okay, I might just be sore that Saint V’s other areas of influence were ignored. I’m pretty convinced that we’d all be happier celebrating plague and epilepsy. Hell, happy loved up zombie day would sit just fine in my calendar. Of course, my gears might be grinding because it was a year ago todau that I punched out 17.5k words on Scavenger Hunt.

I haven’t really written squat since then. All the excuses in the world could fly from my fingertips but honesty is the best policy (unless it isn’t) so I’ll just admit I’ve been lazy.

Something about the mid February love up must be in the air though. Yesterday I punched out an outline for a bit of sword and sorcery fic set in a kind of (but not identical to) Hyborean world. It’s darker than my usual spec fic and (at present) will provably cover at least three books. I’ve got to get this first one done by the end of thr month as there’s a toad in Mongolia waiting for a read.

Anyway, belated happy new year. I’m off to walk the dog.

I’m gunna need more coffee

Morning Chinchilladors,

I’ve got an unexpected day off on my hands. That’s no great shakes when you run a business. I’ve been thinking about sitting around moping (okay, I have been sitting about moping), but it’s a complete waste of time and I got the bills to pay.

It’s been eight months since I churned out Scavenger Hunt. I’ve been pretty unproductive since I hit the publish button on that one (Hi Orchid!). I figured an unexpected day off would be the perfect opportunity to crank something out.

Unlike Scav, I’m going to hit this one blind (maybe more a short-sighted kind of thing). Since I’ve got your attention, I’ll rattle off something from the Perl-based generator and have a go at sharsies.

This is what I got:
Your genre is Splatter Punk
Your protag wants to get something physical
Your character faces a Physical death
Your ending is Positive
your length is 20 thousand words

20k words unprepared in a genre I’ve never before written? It’s lucky I had my 4-egg piri piri omelette before jumping into action!

I’ll update later, even if it’s just a ‘what was I thinking?’ tweet. Now off you go. I’ll catch you on the other side.

‘How to get to know your story’s world with world building questions’ by Kylie Day.

With the longer nights and bad weather drawing in, I’ve found myself less in demand. By no means has the day job dried up, but the seasonal slow-down is starting to take effect. With a touch more free time on my hands, I’ve been able to get in a touch more reading and writing (and, of course, spending time with Lady Orchid).
If you’ve been around her long, you’ll know I tend toward Spec fiction these days. You’ll also know that my MO is short, intense bursts creativity followed by massive lulls. Since this pattern tends to leave me little time for story world backgrounds, I picked up a digital copy of the exhaustively-titled ‘How to get to know your story’s world with world building questions’ by Kylie Day.
It’s a very slim book, 23 pages according to the Amazon page. Including in that number are a dedication, a why I wrote this section and various other bits and pieces. In fact, the actual meat of the work is contained with 13 pages (on my kindle for PC). These pages are a series of one line questions relating to your fictional world.
The small amount of usable content isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Although you could probably find the same world building questions on blogs and web pages, it’s nice and convenient to have them all kicking around in one place and although some of the questions appear a bit redundant (How do people earn a living seems a lot of ground to cover for an entire planet/multiverse/universe), answering the questions in sequence really gets the juices flowing and sparks more ideas into life.
Yes, How to get to know your story’s world with world building questions is a very short book, but I found it quite useful and at less than a quid, I’d say it’s worth picking up if you need a little hand with the old world building.

Excising Dead Matter

Between taking Lady Orchid and her three seedlings to the beach, entertaining said sea monkeys while their mummy learned the fine art of horseless charioteering and a gamut of other fun things, I managed to turn a surgeon’s eye toward Refuge. Unfortunately, despite all the weekend’s goodness, I found something lurking in the story’s guts.

Refuge’s second scene revolves around the mutant menace’ leader. He’s in what passes for a maternity ward in his post-apocalyptic hell hole consulting with a physician over the first viable child born solely of mutant parents. At the time of writing, this scene seemed like a pretty big deal. Scavenger Hunt makes it pretty clear that inter-mutant reproduction is impossible as an unchanged humans must be involved in the process.

This little piece of information has always been something I’ve wanted to put into the overall story, but in hindsight, I don’t think book 2 is the place for it to happen. In fact, throwing in the mutie-mating derailed the story I actually wanted to tell.

So, I’ve cut 15k worth of writing and throw it into a drawer somewhere. That may have been a bit painful, but on the plus side, I’ve worked out why the story felt slow and stilted.

Anyway, that’s enough from me. I have a second draft to write.

Editorial Joys

Refuge’s done and dusted, ‘The End’ has been written. I did say I’d leave it a while and write something else before grabbing the red pen. As it turns out, I’m an impatient sort.

Because I’ve been writing this one mostly blind (that’ll remind me to back up my work), I had the feeling I’d lost the intended story somewhere en route. With everything said and done, I realised that was indeed the case. The story I had was not the story I wanted and things were too far put to tie up with the planned route of part three.

I could have left things as they were, tickled the manuscript into shape and worked from the back of that to adjust the next story. That’s not what I did. Instead, I’ve spent the past few hours reading, editting and looking for where things went wrong. I then dumped 15 thousand words in one key stroke.

That may sound a little bad but although that’s a fair bit of work rejected, I’d say it’s a good thing. Although it’ll take time to put the errors right, it means that I’m not putting out work I’m not happy with. 

Left Toe Shuffle

Early mornings and long days have got me a bit on the back foot. It’s too be expected, what with the sun shining and the birds singing. Real work floods my days at this time of year, so the rewarding work has to get relegated to stolen moments.

In spite of everything book 2, draft 1 is complete. It weighs in at a little longer than scav, but the insides are a whole lot messier. I think I’m going to give this one some time to rest before I set about some red pen surgery.

As if to celebrate the final words going down on book 2, my meteorological masters have taken it upon themselves to watch the world drown. To celebrate the unexpected day off, I’ll be hammering out as many words as I can in the new few hours, though I’ll probably do some yoga first.

Suck

I’ve never been a runner. A swimmer, sure. I’ve done a lot of swimming. I swam a couple of miles for charity and I used to be quite good. I did a bit of judo, even won a couple of medals at club level, so you could say I was okay at that once too.
 I’ve never been a runner though. I did that 5k thing once, but I wasn’t really running on account of the woollen Santa costume and a beer barrel brim-filled with small change. Six guys were going to walk it around the track. One dropped out. I was asked to step in on the day.

You could say as a runner I suck. Every jelly-legged step I take sucks. My ability to run up hill, and it’s pretty rolling here, sucks. My heaving, four-months-off-a-23-year-smoking-habit-lungs can just about suck. 

Opting for less than the full 10k would have sucked. I could have managed a 5k run with minimal training, and the 2.5 would have sucked so hard staying in bed would have been a less sucky option.

So I suck at running. There’s only one answer. When I feel like hammering out a couple more words to avoid the trails, suck it up and pull my shoes on. When my ribs are tied tight with stitch, suck in another lungful of air and throw out another stride. When I go for longer than my training plan requires, even if it’s just by one minute, suck up that glory and keep it tight in my chest for inspiration on the next run.

Yeah, I suck at running. Everything sucks at the beginning. I’m damned sure I’m going to suck it up and deal with it.

Maximum Effort

It’s been about a week since I started jumping out of bed and breaking a sweat before a quick pre-work writing fest and I have to say it’s not only improved my word count, it’s also giving my mornings a boost that I don’t get from a gallon of coffee.

Although I stopped updating exact numbers here (I figured you’d all get bored), I’ve not only improved on the reps per set of my workout (bodyweight exercises), but I’m now hovering around either edge of the 500 word mark per morning.

This is pretty exciting stuff! Not only am I doubling my previous daily word count (I write in the evenings too), but I’m also filled with energy and find the hour-plus forest based doggy hikes a world easier than I did before this experiment. In fact, I’m feeling so good, I’m trying something new!

Local to me, there’s a cross-country 10k run in early September and, since I’m cracking on with the bodyweight stuff, I figured it may be worth a go. Although I can’t run a bath without panting, I’ve paid my money and put my name down so for the next eight weeks I’ll be alternating between running and yoga (on top of the morning stuff).

As I’m pretty excited about the whole thing, I’m going to start journaling my little adventure here. Also, with any luck, I’ll manage to throw a few more posts about the writing down too.