The Cycling Tour: Day Zero

Happy Day Before Happy New Year!

Time to kick off this year’s writing challenge. Below is my proposed ‘to-do’ list for 2016, which I’ll set up as a page on the blog’s menu as well. This is all pure idealism on my part; it’s unlikely I’ll accomplish any of the things listed below, even with 366 days’ lead time. But like Mr. Pither, I’m just too much of an idiot to know when to quit, no matter how many times I crash my bicycle…

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NEW
* Write a science fiction novel
* Write a fantasy novel
* Write a horror novel
* Write this year’s live-blogged Halloween novel in October (separate from the horror novel above)
* Write my fiction-book-that’s-not-a-novel project (more about this later)
* Write a pitch for a comic book
* Write a screenplay (I’m not thinking it’ll be made into a movie; I’m not that delusional. Rather, to enter into contests.)

INCOMPLETE
* Finish Fantasy Novel One (separate from the fantasy novel above)
* Finish Blackletter (still not sure if this is just going to be a novella)
* Finish Face After Face (separate from the horror novel above)
* Finish Let God Sort Them Out (separate from the science fiction novel above)

FIRST DRAFTS
* Rewrite Voidville
* Rewrite Crawlspace

SHORTS
* Write at least one short story a month

MERE MOMENTS
* Updates to MM website and blog
* Updates to sites selling MM ebooks
* Put out paperback of Tired of Monsters
* Put out paperback of The Festival of Borametz
* Put out audiobook of Tired of Monsters
* Put out audiobook of The Festival of Borametz

ETC.
* Updates to personal website
* Finish the long, long overdue read-thru and critique of my friend’s novel

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The list will be amended with strikethroughs if/when any items are finished, and updated with new items accordingly (i.e. a finished project from “NEW” or “INCOMPLETE” would be moved to “FIRST DRAFTS” and so on).

As far as the mechanics of this year’s challenge go, I’m just going to try to write every day, make a brief post about my writing here every day, and also track my non-writing (reading, TV, games, etc.) on the blog. Nothing fancy beyond that. I will most likely post a day late, so that I don’t have to add doing the blog post to the end of the day after doing my actual writing.

See you again soon…kicking things off will either be a return to Fantasy Novel One, or a short story, or…?

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Furtherance: Day Twenty-One

Today

As promised/threatened, I’m switiching to novel-writing during the week, and short story-writing/editing/Mere Moments maintenance during the weekends.

We’ll see how well this works out.

Totals

Today’s Total: 548

Total Overall: 7311

Total Average: 348

The Anti-Writing Equation

A little behind on my media tracking, so these are for the last couple of days…

TV: Watched the premieres of The Muppets and Fresh Off the Boat, the latest Tosh.0, an episode of The Thick of It season one, and an episode of Star Trek: Voyager season three.

Reading: Started and finished Vol. 3, Vol. 4, Vol. 5, and Vol. 6 of Judge by Yoshiki Tonogai, and started KLANG! by James Priest.

Games: Same idle games as usual.

Furtherance: Day Eleven

Day Session

So why is the novel I’m working on referred to by name on this blog (Face After Face), but the short story not (“Fantasy Story One“)?

Mostly it’s rooted in superstition (I couldn’t qualify as a real, live author if I didn’t have some rituals, after all).

But I don’t know if I qualify as a real, live ‘hybrid author.’ I self-publish some things, and sell others to third-party publishers. However, the only things I submit to outside parties are short stories. ‘Hybrid’ may mean you only play both sides of the publishing street with novels. Or maybe not. Honestly, it’s tiring trying to keep track of all the myriad catchphrases in the publishing world, especially when they’re re-defined almost constantly.

But either way, the fact remains that I both self- and nonself-publish. It was my tradition (i.e. superstition) when writing in the pre-Kindle years never to reveal the titles of my stories until they sold. And superstitions are hard to break. Hence, Fantasy Story One.

On the other side of the publishing street, though, I’m my own publicist. So it behooves me to mention, frequently and by name, my WIPs that are coming out through Mere Moments. Doing so is an exercise in futility, I grant you, but still.

So there’s the thrilling explanation, for all the bots that skim this blog. The Day Session short stories will remain anonymous until they’re either picked up by the one or two magazines/webzines/anthologies to which I plan to pitch them, or when they eventually get rejected and I publish them myself.

Everything else, I’m shouting its name loud and proud!

Tiny bit of work done today on the short story.

Night Session

…And an even tinier bit of work on the novel. Pretty tired. Not a hugely productive day, but words got written.

Totals

Today’s Day: 70
Today’s Night: 50
Today’s Total: 120

Days Overall: 2408
Nights Overall: 2106
Total Overall: 4514

Days Average: 217
Nights Average: 191
Total Average: 410

The Anti-Writing Equation

TV: Watched an episode of Defiance, catching up on my season three DVR backlog.

Reading: Started Black Light by Stephen Romano, Patrick Melton, and Marcus Dunstan.

Games: Same idle games as usual.

Furtherance: Day Zero

Eventually I’ll give up, but not today.

The last time I wrote any fiction of note was mid-January, some 70K words into Face After Face, a horror novel that’s been inert ever since. Since then, I almost finished a short story, and started at least a couple others, but otherwise it’s been a fallow nearly-nine months.

But it hasn’t been a fallow year for other things. Death. Failure. Worry. Loss. Stress. Being endlessly adrift and profoundly alone. Things like that, they’ve blossomed, spread and strangled like kudzu.

Things like that? Eventually they’ll make me give up, but not today.

So I’m back writing, re-starting with a blank slate of a blog, and yet another plan of action.

Attempted prolificacy is the name of the game this time. Self-discipline, that most alien of sensations, has been invited to the party. A writing session in the morning and one in the evening, every day. And possibly extra sessions on the weekend. Short stories for submission to anthologies and magazines. Novellas and novels for Mere Moments. Other projects beyond that, because why limit myself?

I do this, though, knowing it won’t succeed. Those awful things above that have so defined 2015, if not the decades to come, will flood back in eventually and stop my writing, like they always do, year after year. And after another period of inactivity, I’ll start back again, with yet another brave plan to Get It Right This Time, Once And For All.

But maybe in those repeated attempts to Get It Right, I’ll be able to Get Some Things Finished.

Mornings may be for short stories, and evenings for novels. Depends on how the groove flows. I’ll post my progress daily, and in October, I might try live-blogging a novel again for Countdown to Halloween. I may chronicle my TV/Movie/Book/Game habits like I have in the past, or maybe not.

Prolificacy, however: that’s the ticket. Elle Casey writes entire (and very entertaining) novels in an average of six weeks each. Dean Wesley Smith decided writing a novel a month wasn’t speedy enough, and is going to attempt to write ten of the suckers in the last four months of 2015.

I’ll never be able to match either of their outputs, ever, but I can do better than I have since January, which has been zip-dot-shit, to quote a late friend of mine.

So, what’s on the agenda?

I have five anthologies with deadlines between now and October 1st. So that’s five short stories. In October itself, I think I’ve got seven more deadlines.

In novels, Crawlspace is finished but needs a big re-write. Let God Sort Them Out and Face After Face are half-finished. There are other novels with a few thousand words written that need completing, not to mention that possible live stunt for October. So that’s three-ish, four-ish novels, with more in the planning stages beyond that.

And so it’ll go, with any luck.

“Luck.” Ha, I crack myself up sometimes.

So what pulled me out of non-writing this time? What put the spurs to me to make another attempt at the furtherance of my pseudo-career?

It was a simple realization:

I’m middle-aged. My death, whether by natural causes, outside agency, or my own certain, steady hand, is getting closer every day. So I might as well spend as much of the time I have left doing the only thing I’m even one percent good at.

And eventually? Yeah, eventually I’ll give up.

But not today.

After all, there’s always tomorrow.