NaNo 2017, Almost Toast

It’s been a long haul this year for my NaNo adventure. I had the ghost of an idea for a book and was hoping to tease out the plot during the month of writing dangerously, but that hasn’t happened. I need more time to think this through, and it will probably get shelved once November is over because I have several other projects in the works. Still, NaNo isn’t a waste, as it’s force me to get back into the habit of writing daily, and it’s a bit surprising how many words I can type in an hour if I push myself.

On the flip side, my hands are hurting from the typing. It’s not carpal tunnel, it’s just aches and pains from jamming the space bar and muscles that aren’t used to marathon writing sessions. My first office job was in a typing pool, and as much as I like to write I can’t imagine ever doing that as a full-time job again.

So, it’s early on November 29, which means today and tomorrow to wrap the novel. It’s almost toast! Just two more days, and I’m at 47,132 words, so I have no doubt I’ll reach the 50K mark, but the story won’t be at an end. I think instead of writing chapters for the next two days I’m going to write chapter synopses and try to find a suitable finishing point for the story. Then if I pick it up later I’ll have the skeleton of a plot to follow and can flesh out the writing.

In other writing news, I’ve started talking to some people in the hopes of getting a history book project underway. I have an interested publisher, but I need access to archival materials and I may need permissions for using materials. I also have some encyclopedia articles on athletes that I’m working on. Here’s to a verbose December!

Advertisements

October Is for Anthology

Ah, yes, that’s a bit of a lame title for the blog post this week, but it’s eerily prescient. Last year (in October) we launched Corrugated Sky Publishing with the publication of our first anthology, Tales of the Black Dog. We started a second anthology with the hopes of printing it this spring, but that came and went and then the summer sun burned down on us and we still didn’t have a finished book in hand. And now it’s October again, and we are very, very close to getting the second anthology in print. So close that we will probably have it next week, just in time for Halloween — again!

This second book is called Smoke and Steam and it’s big: 260 pages, which means that what started out as four Steampunk short stories morphed into four Steampunk novellas, including “Wings over Staria” by JC Rock, “Hekatite” by Karen Garvin, “Heart of the Matter” by Michelle Schad, and “Freedom for a Foster” by Cathryn Leigh. We’ll have the book available in paperback and ebook versions on Amazon, but while you’re waiting for our second anthology, why not pick up a copy of the first one — Tales of the Black Dog? After all, it contains some great horror stories, and what better time of year to read them?

With the anthology all but finished except evicting a few typos and finalizing our print files, it’s time for me to get back to other writing projects. The looming question, with November coming up, is whether I’m going to do NaNo this year. I did it last year and managed to meet the word count, so technically I had a “win,” but the story never quite jelled into something worthwhile. It was supposed to be a noir mystery, but the only “noir” was my character riding a bus at night and the only “mystery” was the plot. I loved my title (Killing Palatino); I also liked the art I came up with for the cover. Maybe I’ll dust it off sometime, but not this fall.

I do have another book idea that I’ve been thinking of developing. It would be a young adult story and the protagonist would be a young girl who lives in a country where being healthy is considered a social duty and being overweight is illegal. I want the politics to be in the background, not in-your-face, but I’ll need to develop an interesting character who has motives and desires. I have some ideas, but you’re going to have to wait at least until December to learn more … as will I!

Writing Tasks for April

A beautiful autumn day in Colorado's Rocky Mountains, with golden aspen trees.

A beautiful autumn day in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, with golden aspen trees.

I’ve been buried under writing assignments and other work, so I haven’t been keeping up with the Thursday Writing Prompts. But a new one will debut this week, so stay tuned! In the meantime, I’ve set myself a goal to finish editing my 2011 NaNo novel by the beginning of June.

I’m going to try for a traditional publishing route instead of self-publishing, so at some point I’m going to start looking for an agent, too. There are different opinions on whether to search out an agent while the writing and editing is still in progress or to wait until the book is completely finished and then start looking. The basic story is done, but as I’m editing and fixing continuity problems I realize that it would be easy to keep rewriting the book forever, so it is ever really done? I guess knowing when to step away from the keyboard is a big problem.

I’ve gotten some excellent feedback from a writing group I belong to on the first 11 chapters, most of which is along the lines “you overwrite and explain too much.” Well, it’s a lot easier to cut out stuff than to go back and fill in holes. But since I put the novel aside for a while I’m finding that it’s a lot easier to see what the reviewers were talking about. The characters are also feeling more like distinct personalities and it’s easier to see where dialogue or actions don’t work properly.

I have my work cut out for me this month. This week I have a literature review to do for my graduate class on World War II, and I have five more encyclopedia articles to write by the end of the month. In the meantime there’s a ton of reading for class, too, and that’s on top of a full-time job. Somehow I will fit in editing my novel and getting on the treadmill at least three times a week. There are enough hours in the day, I just have to get better organized. See you on Thursday!