Tidbit of nothing

Wazzup peeps… long time no write.
Word count: 66043 (6368 more since last post. Totally missed all my targets…)
Progression: Just ‘finalized’ the draft of chapter 13, almost 1K words on ch 14.

I just came through a terrible bout of writer’s block. I won’t bore you with the details. But that is why I have not done anything for 2 months. It wasn’t pretty…

So not a lot of new stuff to talk about… except my wall. If I didn’t mention it here before, I have on facebook or twitter, but I made a giant story arc wall a few months ago. It wasn’t very well put together (the wall not the story arc) but I am in the midst of redoing it.

I originally wanted to do it as a time line, with dates and, well, to be honest, a massive headache of Earth vs Lenaeu hours. Fuck that. It did help, but it hindered more than anything else. So I went to Lowe’s and Home Depot and got some stuff. Not the stuff I really wanted though.

So I got some insulation sheets about half an inch or so thick. I got two of them, 4ft x 8 ft each, and a shit ton of the sticky gel tape stuff, and some wall hanger thingys… This probably isn’t making sense, hence the pictures below.

Anywho, those sheets only cost me like 7 or 8 each. I really wanted the floor insulation which already had grids on it, but that shit would have been like $100 or so. What cost the most was the command strips (like $20 worth) and a roll of paper from office depot or staples that was like $10 but I only used like a quarter of it.

After multiple failed measuring attempts, I finally figured out how I wanted it to look and put up the insulation and paper about a week ago. Last night I got around to drawing some lines on the paper – you can’t see them in the pictures very well – which will eventually be darker. I also put up my outline – 17 characters (column), 1 exposition block (would have been more but I have already written those chapters and I am 99% confident I am done with this besides editing), 16 rising action columns, 1 climax column, and 1 falling action. You can’t see the climax or falling actions in the pic – I cut off my dirty mess over there cause, well, internet.

*WARNING* If you are reading my novel, DO NOT ZOOM! I tried to make it blurry, but you could still see a spoiler on the character names.
 I intentionally have it over the light switches, so don’t think I am a complete idiot. That section is Leah (below) and Ama (above) and since they have so many things, I wanted to have more room for putting up cards.

In the 2nd pic you can see the command strip thingy. There are a shit ton more just sticky things holding up the sheets, these were just placed around the edges to keep it stable.

So I might have less rising and more falling actions, but it is an easy fix.

Side note, the index cards and push pins will probably set me back another $20 when all is said and done. I think it would have cost me about $80 – I don’t rightly know because can’t find all the receipts and I already had the index cards and some push pins.

So why did I do this? To have a hands on experience. I use Scrivener, and it is great, but I wanted something in this specific format to see the progression. I guess it just shows how much I really do have a love/hate relationship with excel since I basically made a giant spreadsheet on my wall.

Well, just wanted to post this little tidbit of nothing. Hope you enjoy the pic’s at least!

PS.

Unplanned rant on planning


Hello wonderful world of folks that haven’t heard from me in over a month!
Word count: 59675 (10132 more since last post. Target of 59637 for 4/17 or… this week goal of 64637 – yes I am slacking this week)
Progression: On chapter 13… posted Ama in the new world and now need to write Leah.
I have revised my goals for writing since I last posted. I had originally reset them to 2K, but I did the math (yeah I am a business analyst so I always look for efficiencies and target dates) and I need to write 5K words a week to end at 150(ish)K words by September.
Why September? Well I figure that it will take me a good month to do my first revision, then a second for my next (hopefully final) revision. This will allow me to send for submissions to Tor and DAW in Nov maybe Dec.
Wait, I thought you were going to self publish? Yes, well… I decided I at least want to see what publisher’s think. Even if I do not go with them.
Also, I will have to rewrite dates in my book to match whatever year it is when I actually do go to publish. As it stands, I will need to rewrite it already as I am going to be a year behind.
I also figure I might get up to 200K words for the book, which will mean November is when I stop writing. That will push by my submission/publishing time line, and hence my book’s, as well.
All of that being said, now we get to my post/rant. First, I want to congratulate my brother on his first book – no it is not fiction, unless you think coding (or whatever it is called) for Cisco is fictional. Congrats Alex! I am truly happy for you and wish you the best in life.
Second, my mom found my blog. So, I really was going to tell her about it, I know she doesn’t believe me, but I am shy – which she should fully know – and very… introverted. I wanted to surprise her with at least my first draft, my blog being a lot more read than it is currently, and maybe some fancy website. Fat luck. My mom google’d me. And now she can see just how much I cuss. Which is actually a lot less on this blog than in real life.
I can still remember the first few times I cussed around her, as an adult. It was quite awkward.
Third, my idiot brother, the younger one, decided it would be a good idea to do some really stupid ass shit. Needless to say, I was a wreck for a week – I can’t even imagine what my mom was going through – and his little punk ass is fine… thankfully. Do not get me wrong, I love him, even if I haven’t seen him in years, but when I see him again, I am likely to hit him. I am about 2K miles away, and had no means to fly out to be with him. I was very afraid he would die before I actually got to see him again.
Enough sadness. I will get to a point here.
To anyone that is starting out writing, or just wants to hear some writing advice, start reading here.
Planning. It sucks, it is tedious, and boring (sometimes). But it is absolutely necessary, and it will likely get thrown out the window as you start writing. I had an original idea of how my books would flow, but now? Yeah, well let’s just say that my plan was that the first 3 chapters would be the set up, and chapter 4 would be the start of my MC (main character IE Amadel) arriving in the magical kingdom. I thought this would be maybe 30-50 pages (@ 350 words per page = 10.5K to 17.5K) Here I am on chapter 12 where she is just now in the kingdom, and I am sitting at 60K (171 pgs).
(BTW, it is extremely difficult to get an exact answer on the pages. I googled/binged a few sites before I just took the max and went with the 350 average words per page in a fantasy novel. I have seen anywhere from 250-350.)
Added to that, I had planned on a meeting between her and another MC (Leah), and now I think I will be completely rewriting that. Basically, Amadel and Leah were to meet, get captured, and Amadel escapes but Leah doesn’t. Now, it seems like the character (Leah) is already ‘captured’ and they will not meet. I haven’t fully decided how that will go, or if I will try to force it back to my original idea. Somehow.
Now, all of that mess out of the way, let me say that there are some people that can plan out each chapter and just speed right on along. Kudos to them, and I am jealous.
I have done this to an extent, but I am leaving it open now. Too many things are speeding through my mind because of the changes to my flow/plot. So now I am ‘stuck’ trying to figure out where to go, and I have 5K words to write by Sunday. Yay.
I think the hardest part is just choosing. I see it in forums all the time where people just don’t know which option as both could do 10 billion different paths.
So even though I have tried and (mostly) failed to plan, I still advocate it. I say this because if I had not thought through and planned the first few chapters, I would still be stuck trying to figure out how to start the damned thing.
But beyond flow of the story, there is also world building, historical data, etc.
I said it best on the FWO site, so I will say it again here:
Well, I knew from the start my book would be the first of a series. This is mostly because it is so vast, but also because I am literally planning it out. I know key points of things that will be happening – I have a giant timeline on my wall – and they are constantly changing as I hammer out the path for the first book. The other issue, is that I am running into two different ‘timelines’ – earth years, and fantasy realm (Lenaeu) years 1:132. So when one year passes on Earth, 132 have passed on Lenaeu. It is quite difficult to plot it all out.
I will say that at first, I just wrote. I did not care about the timelines or anything, I just needed to get it going. Now, I know that I need to keep certain things back or bring other items forward because of foreshadowing and pacing.
To sum it up, I have 6 main bubbles, each roughly equates to one book. Under each bubble, I have several hundred smaller ones. I know certain things will be happening (6 main), but I have changed things around so some of the small bubbles move between books. In fact, I had to take about 70K words and push them to book 3 as I found I had so much more to say before that bit even happened.
As for worldbuilder’s disease, I think as long as YOU need it to determine how to do a particular bit, and not sound like an idiot (lack details), have at it. Yet at the same time, if you spend ten days researching weather patterns over eastern Cambodia because it matches the weather in your story, and then you look into their rainfall, humidity, and the effect it has on the toad population, etc… well, you have caught the bug. But that is not to say that maybe your world revolves around weather? Sanderson’s Mistborn is actually a great example of when you need to do ‘some’ of that kind of research.
I found it perfectly acceptable that I spent two maybe three days on researching and making ciphers because it was direly important. Sure, I could just have a magical encoded book, but where is the fun in that? Why not have something that is not too often found in fantasy? It fits the person who wrote the cipher, and it helps to draw out a mystery.
As for one shoe, if you find my other one, please tell it that I promise to polish it and repair it’s sole if it just comes home… I’m tired of hobbling around all the time.
I went off on a tangent.  <fin>
So… planning. It really does help. Just like I didn’t plan this post so it is all kinds of random.

I like being lazy…

Good. You are back. Or you have just arrived. Eh, either way, good.

Let’s get down to brass tacks first.

Word Count: 42,741 (Yeah yeah… only 3k more than last time)
Progression: Actually, my progression is my topic.

No, I will not write about writers block, fucking stupid. There are god knows how many things already written about that. No… this is a post about what the fuck I am going to do to finish this, and within 2016.

So. There. I said it and I meant it. I will be done with book 1 by 2016. Actually, my real goal is to be done by September, then final draft in November.

Let me start over.

I have a job. A demanding and ever increasingly difficult job. I hate the lack of time I have because of said job. I am lazy. I like being lazy. I want to lay around the house, and when inspiration hits me, I get off my ass to do whatever I want. If I wanna go make a glass of chocolate milk, celery with peanut butter and a salad, I will fucking do that. If I wanna zone out to Netflix and waste away untold hours of my life, I can go do that. I want to stay awake at night and sleep during the day. I live in the desert, so it’s cooler that way. I might vacuum once a month, if I am lucky – or unlucky. If I want to write far too late in the night, more words on my blog than my book, screw it, I can.

In order for some of those things to happen, I need to have a job in which I can. Or no job. I am sure one day my boss will read this blog, hopefully not before I quit, and not because I dislike her, if anything, she is one of the best manager’s I have had. No, I just don’t want to be brought into HR (read previous posts, I refuse to apologize for this). Anyways, hopefully, the day my boss reads this, it will be the day I can no longer call her a boss because I have made enough money to quit.

For over 7 years I have toyed around with this book, and I no longer want to play make believe. There is nothing more that I would like than to have success like Meyer, Sanderson, Tolkien, fucking Shakespeare… but, I will not delude myself. The possibility of that happening is small, but still obtainable – I refuse to believe it is not. If they can I can. I CAN make the book. I CAN make some money from it. I CAN finish my idea of a mostly perfect book. I CAN make a mark. I CAN DO THIS.

I had a crazy goal I set last summer of having 27 pages written a week. Fucking idiot. If any newbie is reading this, yeah I am one too, just know, if you set yourself a goal like that, just do it. Me? I am a wuss and, like I said, lazy. So that goal was not something I really strived for. Could I do it… yeah. Did I? Fuck no. Did it make me depressed every time I saw the calendar reminder pop up? OMG yes…

So instead of seeing that and being like yay I did it! It was more like… I think I MIGHT have written half a page… FML.

Now, I have reset my goal to something extremely small. 2000 words a week. I can do that. It’s not too hard, its reasonable, and its attainable for someone like myself. Shit, I have already written 600 words for this one post already.

In fact, tonight I wrote about 700 words in the book. Easy right? Not really, but I still fucking did it.

This goal will allow me to make the remaining 60K words – yes I decided on 100K for the book – by September-ish. Could be more, could be less. I do like long books, so I will try for more, but I need a solid goal to work towards.

After that, I have allowed myself to November for editing. I still have a fantasy of sending it to Tor or someone and getting immediately picked up, but for now the plan is self publishing. Why? Well, I found a nifty calculator that shows how much you would make self vs traditional publishing. I make more doing self. I am money hungry, I won’t kid anyone there, but the ultimate goal for me is just to actually write this thing. The money is a plus, and it will help pay for me to be lazy… er… write…?

I really do not want the stress of a slush pile (Apparently this is another word for recycling bin according to quite a few authors) just to be rejected or wait around to be rejected for far too long. Also, an agent could just lengthen this painful process.

I dream of having an agent and a publisher. One day…

FYI a slush pile is the giant stack of submitted works that publishers or agents skim through until something catches their attention. Then, it gets put in the maybe pile.

So, I should have the book ready before Christmas this year. I will need Beta readers, I have a few in mind, but still need more. Hit me up if you are interested in reading what I have. I am still in the i-dont-give-a-shit-how-crappy-this-is-cause-its-not-in-editing-mode-yet phase. Needless to say it is a rough-rough draft.

I am a numbers person so bear with me here. If I started this goal on 2/15, and I am in need of another 60K words, that means that it will take me 30 weeks or 210 days. I am hesitant to put this here, its so final, but that would give me until 9/12 to finish. Since my magic is loosely based on astrology, that would mean it’s in the sign of Leo (Sidereal or Berg signs) and Virgo (Tropical – what most people are used to). Leo is a lion with an impenetrable hide represented by Fire, and Virgo is, among other things, based upon the last immortal to leave Earth and destined to return ushering a new age; hence being an Earth sign. I feel good about those signs. Strength and a promise to return. Good.

November can be up to 4 different signs. Since my book will be mostly based on the Berg theory, I am shooting for Ophiuchus – Nov 29 – Dec 17. Granted all of the dates are not quite fixed because of a lot of math and rotation etc. BUT, they are solid dates. I have been pussy-footing around and not setting one. (Hush all of you that realize I do not have a set date for the final draft)

It might be interesting to post my books according to the signs… Could get difficult too. Although, if I write a certain length per book, having 13 in a series, I could post one in each month. Eh… the sporadic thought process of me is quite annoying sometimes.

Ah look, I am over 1200 words now. Oh and I promise hope that the next post will have more info. Things like resources, people I am reading for publishing, the fact that I have a currently useless mailchimp account, that I am critiquing other writers works, etc.

Since I just brought it up, here is something I stumbled across a few weeks ago. It is a bit gimmicky, but still has quite a lot of great info http://timgrahl.com/ I signed up for his newsletter, and some 30 day course for free. If nothing else, he has made me really analyze how I will market when I go to publish.

Anyways, it was fun. Ya’ll come back now…

WTF Facebook…

Hello again world!

Just started my G+ account. Seems a bit convoluted, but then again I am not used to these new fangled fancy SM things. Added some links to other author’s I know, got some followers on twitter and followed a few people.
Facebook… not as easy as twitter let me just say. Getting an account was super easy, so was posting stuff and general editing. I won’t bore you with details. BUT.. adding a facebook button to my blog took me an hour. WTF… Honestly it is a bit of a headache, I had planned on writing the steps down, but F that. I suggest going to youtube and watching this.
Another hour later and I finally have my twitter, google+, blog and facebook connected, plus the apps on my phone. Then I realized I really do not want my facebook and twitter connected. That took a while to figure out as well. Haven’t tested to see if I actually succeeded yet.
And one more thing FB… WTF is your problem huh? I hope one day I get a SM platform that takes hours to configure because nothing is where it should be.

I am still trying to figure out exactly how I want to post things here. There is a lot of information to sort through and I am having a hard time pacing myself and planning everything with all my new gadgets on top of my book thoughts. I guess I should explain a bit about my book.
First, current word count is 32K. I know that is less than what I said in a previous post, but I was guessing before. I finally sorted my scrivener draft into what will be in this book vs other books.
So why is word count so important vs the number of pages? I have found that in the publishing world, word count is what they go by. Generally speaking the ‘limit’ publishers go for is anywhere from 80-120K for a fantasy novel. I haven’t decided if I will listen to that rule or not. I have a very long story to tell, and while the thoughts of break dancing dollars are popping and locking in my head, I don’t know if I really wanna sell out for more money by having more books to buy. Like I mentioned before, I love long books, and this book is supposed to be an accumulation of everything I wanted in fantasy, so whatever.

Then again if Tor or DAW picks me up, then I think I will listen to what they have to say.

Back to the meat of the story… I do not want to give anything away, and right now I am still planning out how I will keep a mystery around the main plot reveal. So here goes:
Once upon a time… Ha! Just kidding. There are really 2 main characters (MC’s) and at this point there are 11 other secondary – but very important – characters. The first book focuses mostly on 3 of them.
Amadel – A teenage girl from Earth is thrown into another world, Lenaeu ([Len – a – ooh] – still not sure on this name) after visiting her Aunt. This was done by means of a magical book and necklace passed down through her family. She is the prophesied savior of the land along with her twin sister. The problem is her sister disappeared almost a decade ago. Now she must learn to survive in a world with magic and an evil sorcerer, bent on her destruction, who has overthrown the kingdom and enslaved millions.
Leah – Orphaned when she was very young, and sent to live with an abusive foster mother, has just lost her new friend, Amadel. Something is whispering in her mind, telling her to locate and help Ama. She finds a way into the other world only to be caught by the evil sorcerer and sent to the Void; a place between Lenaeu and Earth that no one emerges from.
Merlin – Fabled magician from the middle ages, originally sent from Lenaeu to Earth on a mission to protect the prophesied twins. He is there to guide them and help them learn their powers before having to overthrow the evil sorcerer. But when he realizes the prophecy is heading down a path of death and destruction, he takes matters into his own hands.

There is a hell of a lot more and I suck at summarizing but I will leave it at that for now.

Now that is out of the way, I do have some ideas on how to streamline my blog. First, always greet my peeps (not that I have any at this point but hey, whatever). Second, post my word count – even if it is less than it was previously due to editing *shudders*. Third, post my progression or any relevant topics. IE: start my rambling. And fourth, tips for new writers based on my exp. Might switch around 3 and 4.
Since I have already done all but #4, here goes.

Tips:
1. Get a cloud service or multiple flash drives. Why? Well if you are anything like me, you may go through hard drives like a hot knife through butter. Plus I have a tendency to lose flash drives… Thank you google for the cloud drive.
2. Get something better than Microsoft Word. As I stated before, I suggest Scrivener, but I am biased and have no opinions of other platforms yet. I did a quick search and this site seemed the most unbiased, but a bit dated. http://www.dailywritingtips.com/writing-software/
3. Unless you are an English major, or just really well versed with writing already, get an editing tool. Currently I am using (and not using it enough) ProWritingAid because its free. But I will probably update to something else later.
4. Read. Read a lot. Review a lot. Read some more. Review some more. And do not just read and review your own writing genre. I have read quite a few different genres and found very helpful tips. Namely, if you do not take serious time to review your own work, and get beta readers and other people to critique your work, errors are bound to show up. As a reader, I am a stickler for flow. If I see someone doing something out of character, or if something was just explained one way, then totally opposite the next, or if the paragraph(s) that I am reading are just too damned confusing, then I will not want to read anything else from that writer.
5. Just fucking do it already. Will it suck? Yes. Will it frustrate you and cause you to want to ball up your paper and throw it away? More than likely at one point it will. Could you compare your work to <insert your favorite author here> and get totally depressed? Yep… been there, done that, still kinda doing that at times. Will you get over it? I dunno, that part is up to you. I suggest you do. I am 100% serious when I said I have probably thrown away more than I have finally put to ‘paper’ at this point. I just couldn’t let this go though. I have a story to tell and I know there will be at least a few hundred people out there that will love it.

I really tried to not cuss, in fact I have been forcing myself not to because of excluding certain people, or pissing off my HR department. Which is total bullshit by the way. I have been on conference calls where certain …people… have said quite a few interesting things…

Anyways… back to writing. Goodnight my imaginary audience!

PS. The unlinking didn’t work. You have to go to https://www.facebook.com/twitter