Saturday, January 29, 2011

A Fine Rut

I'm in a rut, but that's fine. I just need to dig the rut deeper, until it's a proper trench, a broad sunken avenue that leads directly to SUCCESSTROPOLIS by way of MOOLAH JUNCTION.

A typical day when I have no other obligations goes as follows:
6AM - I wake up half-lucid, and mess about on the Internet until my lucidity returns.
7AM - Morning Ablution followed by perambulation unto the shop to purchase the food of the day (cf: "Lazy Writer Cooks")
8AM - Final check, unplug the Internet! Move the laptop to the cool room and either Continue with whatever I was writing or Start the next thing.
10AM - Eat something while watching some movie/podcast/Internet whatever. Hands-free, have an hour or so. Often THINKING occurs here.
11AM - Write some more.
Sometime between 11AM and 1PM, whenever she's bored -  take a call from my girlfriend with some question or another. After resolving it, compliment her bottom, a fine bottom indeed and worthy of praise. Well done.
12AM - Eat something while watching (continuing?) some movie/podcast/Internet whatever. 1 Hour.
1PM - Continue Writing straight through.
Sometime in the afternoon - Eat something, 1 Hour Internet,
Sunset - move to the warm room, write some more.
8PM - Write a blog post, schedule it for 10PM. Sometimes accidentally post it early because forgot to change the schedule.
8PM-10PM - Write some more, try to finish the story or at least come up with the next two scenes for tomorrow. Add to the blog post anything that comes to mind.
10PM - Check blog post to make sure it doesn't suck.
After 10PM? Sometimes writing, sometimes Internet, sometimes movie. Often more complimenting of bottoms.

And then it's a fine rut indeed.


The results are about 10 hours for One (or sometimes Two) stories. I've started blasting 2000 word stories out to get the inspiration down so it doesn't interfere with the longer story I'm trying to finish that day. I don't know how that works, strategy-wise, but tactically it has produced "Sharia & The Gays" and "DRAGON MARINES".

Make up what you will.

Words? Yes
Short Story "An Aesop Amidst The Fairy Dust" - fantasy magic and the invention of fairy pizza.
Short Story "The Ten Thousand Dollar Whore" - atompunk by the hour
- - - -
Reading - ?


Friday, January 28, 2011

Strong Drink Is a Mocker

By strong drink, Proverbs AND GOD HIMSELF of course mean "coffee". I hereby declare coffee beverage non grata in my house.

It just makes me twitchy and gives me headaches. I'll stay up all night anyways, I might as well not be jumping at every creak in the floorboards.

Now before you go saying "David, perhaps coffee in moderation would solve this problem?" to which my answer would be "WRONG! I halved, Halved!, my coffee intake and it didn't work." If you think I'm going to to halve it again, you're out of your mind. Who ever heard of drinking a mere 2 liters of coffee a day? I ASK YOU, who?

Anyways, my coffee drinking shall henceforth be limited to iced espresso purchased at will from the 20 roadside stands that exist on my daily walking route.

At home, I have a new beverage of choice that both reflects the delightful weather and fits my budget. Here's how to make it:

Giant Jug of "clean?" water, non-tasty.
Bottle of 45% Lime Juice
Soda Water

Mix all that in some mystical proportion, Figure it out for yourself, must I tell you everything?
Drink continuously while Writing* so that you have to get up every 30 minutes and go to the toilet. This is for your health.
Do not get sick from the water. If you do, walk it off, perhaps buying some espresso on the way.

This is going to work out just fine!

*Because this is a Writing Blog, remember?


For those wondering, a Buck eChap is an electronically published short story available for $0.99! The increasingly unsatisfying construct "eShorts" and the rather mundane Available Stories just wasn't cutting it, and I saw Kevin J. Anderson tweet:

"4 new chaps dictated and a HELLHOLE interview done today; now for some email, then to cook dinner."

And I went: "What's a chap?" LO! 'Tis apparently a short story in ephemeral bound form. Well, these are on the Internet. So buy them before they stay on the Internet forever. Also, say Bucky Chap. BUCKYYYYYYYYYY


Would you like your coffee with cream or with Biting Political Satire for the Modern Day!

Just cream, please, for me. And you, honey?

Two sugars, if you would.

FINE! Here's your coffee, sheeple.


You'd better tip.

Words? Yes
Short Story "An Aesop Amidst The Fairy Dust"
- - - -
Reading - ?


Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Best of Times Are The Worst

New Plan! Find that glass and buy two.

David was going to write about how he disliked the term Indie publishing and hated the term Self-Publishing, but then he inadvertently depressed himself while writing a really good sad story. He'll write that lame publishing post tomorrow, tonight he's going to get good and drunk.

He's earned it.


Words? Hell Yes.
Short Story "Players of the Atomic Theremin" - done
Short Story "DRAGON MARINES" - done, spell-checked, submitted.
- - - -
Reading - ?


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Dang It

I'm still making the outline for "Fire in Khartoum". I suppose since it's the first time I've sat down to outline a whole book beforehand, I don't have the mental pathways set up to make it go fast. Dang new learning, with its new ways. Still, I swore an oath and it'll happen, dammit.

Meanwhile I'm writing a short story that's going to be awesome once I figure out the characters to go with the awesome, awesome setting and SF concepts. I want it to be my flagship contribution to the newly pro Weird Tales. I have four days ahead of me, so I think I can knock out this story, another story, probably one more story after that, and at least get halfway through this outline before then.

I'm having a wonderful time, dang it! How's it going with you?


You might notice the tiny ad box that graces the part of the blog where I had been putting up a tiny cover ad of my own. Well, it's from Project Wonderful, run by Ryan North (the Dinosaur Comics guy). Feel free to ignore it, it's unobtrusive, but there's three reasons why I'm doing this:

1. I want to see what happens. Part of this blog is learning about The Internet, and Project Wonderful ads are the only ones I have enough control over to bother with. Google AdSense is just distracting and lame, but I can reject any PW ad that I don't want, and it shows a default ad of my choosing when nobody has bid. (Also the payment is by time served, not by the click, which to my organized mind is a much better system.)

2. Now, I can say I've 'monetized' my 'content'. It pleases the little part of me that says "David, you're writing for free!", despite the fact that I get more value out of the blog than I put in. Really, I'm not anticipating a massive cash stream from this tiny ad, and any revenue would just go into putting a Project Wonderful ad up somewhere else.

3. My ulterior motive: that it's a lot more convenient to use the Project Wonderful interface to change the default ad I want to have in the space when nobody has bid on anything. Right now it's just a link to my Amazon author page, but I could make little 125x125 ads for each of my book covers and cycle them at the push of a button if I felt like it. That and the free ad I have at Critters is the extent of my 'promotion'.

So, if you feel like advertising your fiction, blog, webcomic, etc. on here, go for it. If not? Eh, it'll just advertise my stuff. If you do, and your blog has a Project Wonderful ad, I'd almost certainly be using your ad space (as per 2) for my ad with the money your ad gives me anyways.

Words? Yes
Short Story "Players of the Nuclear Theremin"
Short Story "DRAGON MARINES", thrill to the adventures of Cheroot Deborgious, human commander of dragons.
- - - -
Reading - ?


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Lesson More

When I say I'm outlining "Fire in Khartoum", it's no joke. I am a "discovery writer", which is just a fancy way of saying I'm making all this shit up (I curse because it's true) as I go along. Still, I'm doing this writing thing Scientifically, and observation tells me that it is probably better for me to get into the habit of outlining longer works. Here's why:

1. If I think of the plot and figure out the viewpoints before I write the whole thing, I won't have long uncomfortable pauses between writing # and writing the next scene where I'm just pacing the room trying to figure out what's going to happen next.

2. I can keep a whole short story in my head at a time, easy. But a novel? And what happens when I lose the thread? No, I've got to get it all in a spreadsheet.

3. It seems more professional to do this, both because it's easier to report progress when you have this convenient excel spreadsheet of all the scenes in the book and because you actually know how many scenes are left. I admit that this is my otherskills experience creeping in, but nothing's wrong with that. If I'm going to be a pro, I'll act like a pro.

4. Spreadsheets can be changed. I don't have to worry about "boxing myself in"...because, well: I can just push the X button.

Am I saying I'm outlining everything from now on? No! I'm not even done with my first book outline, but the most recent Alan story was my testbed, and it seemed to work fine. I'm not discounting a Flurry of Productivity that produces an awesome book, but I'm going to do it scientifically when that isn't happening.

By the way, I heartily recommend the Tron: Legacy soundtrack for any writing except for Romance Novels set in 1885. Just...just no. Daft Punk Sex Scene: Awesome, but not sexy. (Did that guy just? DUDE! No keyboards in the bedroom. Wait, you're not even in the bedroom. ...I think it just got sexy.)


I was getting confused by the Blogger "Stats" tab because it was telling me only 10 people read the blog the other day, which was significantly less than...ever? I mean, the first post had at least 30. So I popped over to Google Analytics, which I installed but never really check because it's addictive, and-

Sweet-googly-moogly! People read my blog! Sure, it's not massive numbers, but still, for a random person like me on the Internet, it feels like a lot. A special shout-out to the 42 "absolute unique visitors" who read my blog almost every day.

I hope that it's because you enjoy my musings, not because you have nothing better to do...but, hey, either way.

Words? Yes
- - - -
Reading - Whatever, Screw That Jerk, You Want To Be a Writer


Monday, January 24, 2011

Captain Loser The Magnificent

In which I test myself vs. Rule #3: You must not rewrite (unless to editorial demand)

I got a really nice personal rejection today. That is, I got a really helpful personal rejection today from a market I read regularly, so I can compare it to the stories they publish for added value. My preference for brutal rejection letters is part of the public record, but helpful and nice is good too.

I won't copy it here (that'd be lame for a personal note), but here's the summary: In a quick paragraph, the editor praises the setting and themes, rejects for execution. Then the editor goes on to say that something that didn't help was several scenes of severe violence against women, lingering and semi-explicit (editor's adjectives, but a fair description). Further, the editor says "I may well be oversensitive to such things, 'cause we see a *lot* of stuff along those lines in submitted stories".

Now you may be thinking "Damn, Dave, you're a jerk!" Hold on to those feelings, because I want to redirect them toward something useful. Or at least away from me.

I feel empathy with the editor, because that sentiment was what inspired the story in the first place. Reading fiction, watching TV dramas, living life: It's just coated in violence against women. Apparently if you don't want to go too far out of your way to get audience sympathy, that's the default go to. And, of course, in real life, it seems the default go to in the absence of ... well, the default. So, I would say I'm oversensitive.

But part of being a writer is breaking through sensitivity. I wanted to see if I could do it right, where it wasn't just a lame ploy for audience sympathy, but rather an essential piece of the initial character sketch and thus the development of the main character (who is not the one being beaten) as contrast to the villain. Re-reading the story, I still think it works, and I'm glad I sent it out as-is.

I consider this rejection a Success for two reasons:
1. An editor (whose magazine's speculative fiction I enjoy) noticed my first stab at alternate history and caught the themes I threw in. And wasn't inherently repulsed by two out of three! (66%! Whoo!). As a bonus, I got a useful tidbit of specific market knowledge which I'll be able to apply in the future.
2. Confidence. Earned confidence. I don't entirely suck, I just haven't been awesome in the right way for this particular market yet. That'll happen.

I'm feeling a Rule #3 glow. Had this editor sent me a rewrite request, I'm sure we could have worked something out, but until an editor does, my time is better spent writing the next story.

Don't write in the past, unless it's alternate history.


For any (there can be none!) who still doubt the quality of research and speculation in my Moon Base series, let me be the first to declare that I CALLED IT (a year ago!):

In At The Mountains of Malapert, we meet the Chinese president of the near future for the first time, Mr. Xi Jinping.

Near future, you magnificent bastard! I read your book!

Let's hope that the part I'm writing right now is not similarly prescient...even in this optimistic near-future, shit happens.


I'm in the process of scene-by-scene outlining (yes, you read that right) my action romance serial "Fire in Khartoum". Set in 1884 during the Siege of Khartoum, a young lieutenant finds himself torn between a young wife at home and the beautiful daughter of a local merchant, all the while struggling to survive against the Mahdi of the Sudan.

Here's the cover art. I plan to write it in parts, putting each part up for $0.99 as I finish it, and then sticking them all together at the end for $4.99. We'll see how this goes, because this seems to be the way I enjoy writing books.

Words? Yes
- - - -
Reading - China Grooms Hu Jintao's Successor, Xi Jinping
(New York Times)


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Misery Loves Company

After a brief period of popularity, it looks like MY TIME IN THE SUN IS OVER. Alas.

It was a good run while it lasted, met a lot of nice people, but now I'm stagnating in the SLOUGH OF DESPOND. The mosquitoes buzz around the corpse of my happiness, sucking it dry. Sucking it dry.

From now on, I'll FOREVER BE UNKNOWN as that guy who was that guy, maybe. There's no hope for me in this crazy world of blogs and fun. Naught but sadness awaits me in the dark corners of the Internet, where I shall turn for SOLACE IN THE ARMS OF HARM.

I shall not see the good life. The mediocre life is my burden. I want A BAD LIFE LIVED GOOD, but I will get nothing but sorrow. Sorrow, my new middle name. Dave Sorrow.


Misery loves company...but it doesn't have any stock options.


Oh, I'm just kidding. I'm having a wonderful time. I just thought of a bunch of cool story titles for a foray into Dark Fiction (if not horror proper) and wanted to build a post around them.

Next project? Sharia & The Gays; I'm going to start tonight.
Update: Done.


Thus far this year, I've written and submitted a short story every 4 days, for a total of 6 with today's story. That's about 24,000 words. Pretty good, right?

Not for me. I am saddened, I am disheartened, I am annoyed with myself. If I am to be working 42 hours a week, and I should be (as I do when I'm focused) getting at least 750 words in per hour, each week I should have 32,000 words ready to go every week. There've been about three weeks, so that puts my minimum goal at 96,000 words.

I'm 72,000 words short, people. Not even HALF. Unacceptable.

I don't count words in day-to-day projects, but I should have more projects complete and out by now. I'm wasting my life.

Get a move on, Davie.

Words? Yes
Short Story "A Blot on the Escutcheon" (Alan4) - written, submitted
Short Story "Sharia & The Gays" - written, submitted
- - - -
Reading - Myth: Writing Is Hard

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