New Year, New Goals 2020 Edition

Wow, 2019 was like a decade of its own, wasn’t it?

Let’s look back at what I intended to get done:

    • Finish drafting and revising Graveyard Mind 2
    • Revise An Excuse for Whiskey
    • Systematic finishing of the short stories I’ve started writing but not finished. I would like to get at least six new stories out the door this year
    • Separating my IP from a work-for-hire project that didn’t pan out.
    • Be ready to write that new book by November for NaNoWriMo
    • Read more

Not a lot crossed off the old list last year, I’m afraid.

I took Graveyard Mind 2 from roughly 50K to 75K. I know all the story now, and have a few scenes left to write and a number of chapters to flesh out to get a full draft up to length. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons I’ll get to later, I pulled the pin on working on this book. Had I stuck with it, I would’ve likely had a completed (finally) draft, but it would’ve still needed substantial revisions before I submitted it to be published.

Sandra and I talked about an Excuse for Whiskey at Can-Con in Ottawa, and at the end of the year we did make a strategic plan to move forward, after reacquainting ourselves with the material. I think there’s a lot of strong writing there, and we should be able to go forward on this book strong in 2020.

I submitted four new stories this year, not the six I’d aimed for. Three of those stories were accepted to the markets they were written for, and the fourth I just snuck in at the end of year (on the last day of submissions, with fifteen minutes to spare to catch my bus to my New Year’s Eve celebrations) so I won’t know if it sold for a while yet. Pretty happy that I pushed through on that last piece, despite not hitting my six story goal. I also realize my approach in finishing stories has not been remotely systematic any of the last few years. I just grabbed whatever stubs of writing and unfinished stories seemed to fit various open calls or invitations and honed them down and built them up until I had something to send off. I mean, I guess it’s a system…Of the four stories I submitted this year, three were stubs of old material that I fleshed out, and one was pretty much all new material. Two were set in the Graveyard Mind/Midnight Man ‘verse, and two were part of the Thunder Road ‘verse. I also subbed one older story that suited another open call and had two stories (“Cheating the Devil at Solitaire” in On Spec and “The Enforcer” in Earth: Giants, Golems, & Gargoyles) published. Not a bad year for short fiction for me.

When I abandoned Graveyard Mind 2, it was already mid-November, so too late to start writing a new book for NaNoWrimo, and I knew how my Decembers usually go, so starting a new book from scratch didn’t seem like something that I was in the head space for, so I prioritized that last story instead. But I did also have that completed book written for a work-for-hire project that didn’t work out. I think one of the reasons this task sat as long as it did was I just wasn’t sure what I wanted to do to replace the magic system/gods and religion that were part of the old IP, and the story I told didn’t really suit being placed in any of my existing writing worlds. Over the course of 2019, I figured out what I wanted to do with it and spent the tail end of the year finishing a draft. I stripped out the old company’s IP and replaced it with my own worldbuilding. There’s still a lot of layering to happen, and definitely another draft or two in its future, but it did cross one relatively big thing off my to-do list. I also think I want to add another POV character in the next draft, so we’ll see how that goes. I’m excited to get it done.

I read more in 2019 than I did in 2018, but it still didn’t feel like enough. Maybe because most of what I read was actually rereads or familiar series. As I got ready to move, I found I didn’t have the energy to concentrate on new books, so I stuck with series I’d already started, or rereading old favourites. Oh, and gaming books–so many gaming books. I started and finished Sam Sykes’ Bring Down Heaven trilogy, read a few Seanan McGuire novels in the InCryptid and October Daye series, and reacquainted myself with R.A. Salvatore’s Dark Elf and Icewind Dale trilogies, David Eddings’ Elenium and Tamuli, and fell waaaaaaay behind on my comic reading (Criminal was a stand out for me though) and checked out a bunch of new roleplaying games (City of Mist, Dark Streets & Darker Secrets, Forbidden Lands, Invisible Sun, Legend of the Five Rings 5e, Monster of the Week, Pathfinder 2e, Runequest: Roleplaying in Glorantha, Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells, Tiny Supers).

I wrote about 80000 new words in 2019, which is up from 2018, but still well below what I’d like. I think for next year, I’m going to stop tracking my daily word count in the same way as I’ve been doing for the last five years or so. It’s had diminishing returns the last few years, and I spent time fiddling with the spreadsheet that I could’ve spent writing. Maybe I’ll just take one year off from obsessively tracking word count, or maybe not. Maybe I’ll only note the word count that goes out on submission this year. We’ll see how the writing goes.

So…

Why did I abandon work on Graveyard Mind 2?

A lot of shit was going on with ChiZine Publications that I should’ve noticed sooner, but there are some pretty good run downs available if you want to know more. Each new story of misdeeds by ChiZine that emerged was gutting, and I believe those who came forward, and appreciate their bravery in sharing. I’m also sorry I didn’t see what you were experiencing sooner. I’ll learn from this, and I’ll try to do better. While my time publishing with ChiZine was not as bad as others have described, I could not continue to have a professional or personal relationship with them. I asked for and received a reversion of rights to Graveyard Mind, so it will soon be out of print and unavailable. I do have some copies for sale at conventions for the time being. If you’d like to read it and can’t find it, please drop me a line and I’ll try to hook you up. I’m still deciding what I want to do with the book and series. Ideally, I’m hoping to find a new publisher for the series, but I’m also considering self-publishing a new edition of Graveyard Mind and possibly the rest of the series. What I choose to do will likely depend on the 2020 agent hunt. I’ll keep you posted.

While the year didn’t end the way I’d hoped, at the same time, I felt a renewed drive to create coming out of November. I had a great time at Can-Con hanging out with writer pals I see too rarely. So many people reached out to me during mid-November to check on how I was doing in the wake of the ChiZine news (thanks so much! Your support meant the world to me). I completed a new draft on an old book and finished one more short story before the bell tolled on 2019, so I’m feeling good about 2020’s creative prospects.

What’s up for 2020?

  • Decide what to do with Graveyard Mind and Graveyard Mind 2 and implement those plans.
  • Revise An Excuse for Whiskey.
  • Finish short stories I’ve started but not completed. As before, I would like to get at least six new stories out the door this year, but this year I’d also like to write one of those stories for submission to the online pro markets rather than for open call themed anthologies, as is my usual way.
  • Finish revising my WIP novel and get it out on submission.
  • Restart the agent hunt.
  • Read more.

Stretch goal!

  • If I get my WIP out on submission, and Sandra and I finish An Excuse for Whiskey by November, I’ll take a run at NaNoWriMo again.

Write on, folks!

Half-Year Check-in

So, here’s what I had up for 2019.

  • Finish drafting and revising Graveyard Mind 2
  • Revise An Excuse for Whiskey
  • Systematic finishing of the short stories I’ve started writing but not finished. I would like to get at least six new stories out the door this year
  • Separating my IP from a work-for-hire project that didn’t pan out.
  • Be ready to write that new book by November for NaNoWriMo
  • Read more

And how are we doing? Not especially great, nothing is crossed off the list, but early days yet, and I’m hoping now that my move is done, things will start turning the corner, creatively speaking.

State of Writing: I’ve only added about 15K to the Graveyard Mind 2 manuscript, but I know the shape of what the book will be, and how I want it to influence what will come later in the series. Between a few real life things, it’s been tricky for Sandra and I to sit down and hammer out the revision task list for An Excuse for Whiskey, but I am confident that we’ll get there. I’ve got two new stories out the door so far, and both sold! One will be appearing in Earth: Giants, Golems, & Garygoles, and another I can’t talk about yet. I have one more story that is almost drafted and is due by month’s end. It’s not an old piece of unfinished writing, but I’m still going to count it as getting me half way to my six story goal for the year.

Earth-Lg

I haven’t done any work separating out that IP. I’m largely considering just writing off that work entirely. I wasted a creative year on that book, but for now, it doesn’t seem worth the bother to revisit, just a waste of further time. I have, however, been happily worldbuilding and outlining (sort of) the next thing I want to write. If I’ve crossed GM2 off the list, or at least finished the draft by then, I think I’ll be ready to start writing the mystery project in November.

State of Reading: So this was a non-writing related goal, but still a very important part of the writing. You know, such as remembering why I got into writing in the first place, and that’s because I love to read. Mostly have been rereading as I prepped for the move, but I finished a couple more Seanan McGuire books in the series I’ve been following, and finished off Sam Sykes’ Bring Down Heaven trilogy. I also reread my way through the Moonshae trilogy by Douglas Niles, and R.A. Salvatore’s Dark Elf trilogy and Icewind Dale trilogy. Sam Sykes definitely got the old D&D nostalgia vibes going, but comfort reads were what was going to happen, so it was fun to revisit some of the books I read so long ago. I’ve also been doing a bunch of gaming reading as I try to digest some new game systems I’ve recently purchased and want to get to the table, such as Invisible Sun, Mecha Hack, RuneQuest, and Tiny Supers.

State of Gaming: I’ve tried a few new games. Gaming is another big reason why I became a writer, and so while it’s usually the first thing that gets cut when the deadlines roll in, I’ve been missing it. I participated in Dungeon Musings’ game marathon, where we played Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea. I started playing in a Forbidden Lands campaign one of my buddies is running. The 5e D&D game I’m in with my high school group resumed after a moving hiatus and I hosted the first game in my new place. A new game just started up with the gang I played all the way through 3rd/3.5 D&D with, this time using 5th edition, and set in Greyhawk. I should be returning to the GM side of the table with a Marvel Superheroes game set in the MCU set post-Civil War and running a couple of Pacific Rim inspired one-shots and short games using Tiny Fontiers: Mecha and Monsters and Mecha Hack.

State of the Writer Himself: I’ve dropped thirty pounds since Christmas, largely due to a bunch of small changes accumulating to bigger results than I’d expected. Derek Künsken started #7300 Club on Twitter on New Year’s Day, a challenge to do 20 push ups a day for the year. When I saw the challenge, I snarked that I couldn’t promise to try, but I’d try to try, and when I did, I got mad at how much more difficult the exercise was than I remembered, so I kept going. My pal and co-writer Sandra Wickham who knows a shit-ton about this kind of stuff, suggested I vary my exercises and take a rest day, so I’ve been doing that and gradually ramping up my sets and repetitions of all the exercises. It’s all just body resistance stuff at the moment. Most of the weight loss likely came from my decision to quit eating so much garbage at work. So long, Tim Hortons sausage biscuit breakfast, hello banana. Cutting the junk food at work however meant I didn’t need to do much about my other meals to see results. It feels good. The last time I’d been under 200 pounds was after a bout of food poisoning that coincided with having to build a fence in thirty degree heat (I do not recomment this method for a variety of reasons). I’m back to the weight I was in my mid-twenties, and good thing I’m a pack rat, because some of the concert t-shirts I bought back then fit me again. The other exciting part of getting into better shape (you know, other than just plain feeling better) is that the words have been coming more regularly than they did all of last year.

The other big thing: I moved.

This has been a long time coming, we’ve been talking about it for a while now, and it’s finally happened. Sold our house and bought a condo. I’m hoping the lower maintenance will free up more time for writing, and maybe allow my sweetie to travel with me a bit more.

Most of the late winter and early spring was spent getting the house ready to sell, and the rest of spring until now was dealing with the move and unpacking. But I have a functional office again (mostly), so this, combined with just feeling better in general, leads me to believe the backend of 2019 will be better creatively. Any way, that’s me for now.

Write on!

New Year, New Goals 2019 Edition

So? How was your creative 2018?

Well, here’s how it felt.

Here’s what I ACTUALLY crossed off the list:

  • Finish drafting and revising Graveyard Mind 2
  • Finish drafting An Excuse for Whiskey
  • Keep my short fiction on submission
  • Systematic finishing of the short stories I’ve started writing but not finished. I would like to get at least six new stories out the door this year
  • Separating my IP from a work-for-hire project that didn’t pan out
  • Finish a draft of a secret project me and a buddy are collaborating on
  • Finish two comic scripts

Stretch Goals

  • Start writing a new book

Honestly, this is better than I expected 2018 to have turned out to be. i only drafted about 60000 words, down to nearly a third of what I’d done the last two years and even worse when compared to 2015.

I didn’t get much further on Graveyard Mind 2. Edits and then touring Graveyard Mind took up more energy than I expected. But! Me and Sandra Wickham made a big push at the end of the year and finished the first draft of An Excuse for Whiskey (We really need to find a title for that bloody book!) and that secret project which I still can’t talk about.

Keeping my short fiction on submission didn’t take a lot of energy as I only had a couple short stories that haven’t been trunked still in search of homes, and two of those sold! Which means of course, if I want to keep my short fiction on submission in 2019, I really need to finish some more of it. As to that, 2018 wasn’t great for finishing stories. I jumped around a lot between stories, making progress on several but not quite finishing any of them. A couple of those shorts have grown into novellas, which is relatively new territory for me, but that’s the length they want to be. We’ll see if that’s the length they need to be when I’m done with the drafting. I did a bit of work outlining one of the comic scripts I wanted to write, and while I know the page beats I want to hit, the actual script is far from finished. I didn’t start a second script.

Separating the IP from the work-for-hire project fared the worst. I made next to no progress. It’s one of the things I know needs to be done, but it sometimes feels like throwing good time after bad, when I spent most of 2017 on a novel that won’t (and can’t) see the light of day until this task is done, when every desire spurs me to just write the next damned thing.

What is the next damn thing? I guess I’ve started it, in that I’ve been doing a bunch of world building. There’s a few exploratory bits of writing that’ve happened as I’ve wondered who the protagonist is going to be. There’s even a map! But I’m holding off on writing too much actual prose until Graveyard Mind 2 is in the bag.

So, what’s up for 2019?

  • Finish drafting and revising Graveyard Mind 2
  • Revise An Excuse for Whiskey
  • Systematic finishing of the short stories I’ve started writing but not finished. I would like to get at least six new stories out the door this year
  • Separating my IP from a work-for-hire project that didn’t pan out.
  • Be ready to write that new book by November for NaNoWriMo
  • Read more

That’s gotta be plenty.

April Goals

How’d I do in March?

  • Separate IP from that work-for-hire project, which means a reread and LOTS of notes to write, and forms to fill out
  • Finish final round of substantive edits for Graveyard Mind (already done!)
  • Finish drafting a new short story
  • Submit a story to On Spec
  • Start arranging book launch and tour details for Graveyard Mind

I got some of my IP work done, but not all. The unwritten pitches are close to being ready to send in to the publisher, but the novel that was actually submitted needs to undergo a full rewrite stripping any of their IP before they’ll sign off on me being able to submit it elsewhere. I hadn’t really planned on revising that book this year, I wanted to finish the sequel to Graveyard Mind first, but I also really want this line item to be off my plate.

After I turned in the final round of substantive edits for Graveyard Mind, the proofreader notes showed up hot on their heels. I don’t know why those minor changes make me sweat more than dealing with the big stuff, but they do. Probably because each step brings me closer to not being able to make any changes. Shortly after those were done, ChiZine had Graveyard Mind laid out, so my page proofs arrived. Got those done too.

While I didn’t finish the new story, I did have one I haven’t submitted to On Spec yet, so I got something in to them, at least. I also booked Graveyard Mind launch dates in Winnipeg, Edmonton, and Calgary. More details to come soon, and hopefully more cities to add to the tour!

Over the last couple months I’ve been working on some gaming setting pitches for an open call. I narrowed those down to one I liked best, and sent it off. I also ended up doing a proofread for my story “All and Nothing” and finally getting a chapter of An Excuse for Whiskey to Sandra.

And for April:

  • Finish a new comic script
  • Get Midnight Man Magazine assembled for Prairie Comics Festival in May

 

March 2018 Goals

Well. Once I again, I forgot that February is a short month; made shorter this time by the ghost of a Christmas cold past returning with a vengeance.

My February Goals:

  • Separate IP from that work-for-hire project, which means a reread and LOTS of notes to write, and forms to fill out
  • Work on something fun and super secret
  • Write a chapter for An Excuse for Whiskey
  • Finish polishing one of my comic scripts and send it to my editor
  • Finish edits on my story “Midnight Man versus Frankie Flame”

I still feel pretty good about what I got accomplished (including finishing my goals post in a relatively timely manner this month)! Separating my IP was never going to be fun, so I’m not surprised it got dropped, especially given a short month and week-long illness.

The super fun and super secret thing is moving along, I hope to make more progress soon, and have more news soon. I didn’t get my Excuse for Whiskey chapter to Sandra when I’d hoped to, but I did write it. A few things weren’t hanging together, but it’s close to me being willing to share it with Sandra. I reread the previous fifty pages of the story and some of our notes before I got started up again, but that wasn’t quite enough after a long (too long) vacation from working on the book.

My comic script has been edited, revised, and is in the hands of the artist. This will be the first Midnight Man comic story, and I’m really excited to see the finished piece. If all goes according to plan, you’ll be able to get this story at Prairie Comics Festival in May. Also in Midnight Man news, “Midnight Man versus Frankie Flame” was revised and returned to Rhonda Parrish for her Fire: Demons, Dragons and Djinn anthology. I had a ton of fun writing this story, and I’m stoked for people to read it.

And what’s on deck for March:

  • Separate IP from that work-for-hire project, which means a reread and LOTS of notes to write, and forms to fill out
  • Finish final round of substantive edits for Graveyard Mind (already done!)
  • Finish drafting a new short story
  • Submit a story to On Spec
  • Start arranging book launch and tour details for Graveyard Mind

That’s more than enough, I think!

New Year, New Goals 2018 Edition

Well 2017 was certainly something.

Now…what did I hope to accomplish for 2017?

  • Write, revise, and submit a book within the 2017 calendar year.
  • Keep my short fiction out on submission.
  • Complete first draft of An Excuse for Whiskey.
  • Systematic finishing of the short stories I’ve started writing but not finished. I would like to get at least six new stories out the door this year.
  • Plan out a sequel to Graveyard Mind.

Stretch Goals for 2017:

  • Edit one of my fallow novel first drafts.
  • Participate in NaNoWriMo.
  • Write a few comic scripts.

How’d I do?

Not only was 2017 a bad year for achieving goals, it was also a bad year for writing about them. Somewhere along the line, I gave up on posting about my monthly goals (even this post is late! I got sick end of 2017, and then novel edits dropped right after New Year’s). Largely, because not much was happening for me on the writing front. I spent way too much energy following U.S. politics, which was something I was probably not alone in doing.

Novel work definitely took most of the brunt of this inaction. I didn’t write, revise, and submit a new novel in 2017. I think I only managed to add one chapter to An Excuse for Whiskey. I got about three chapters into revisions on an old novel manuscript before deciding to trunk it (at least for now). I pursued NaNoWriMo only because of how few words I’d produced in 2017, and I hoped the mutual energy of the event would give me a kick in the ass to start typing again–and it did! I knocked out a little more than 50000 words of a followup to the forthcoming Graveyard Mind. This sequel was not the book I’d planned on writing, but then, Graveyard Mind had been a NaNoWriMo book too, and it’d also displaced the one I’d planned on writing, so it was sort of fitting its sequel would do the same.

Short fiction fared the best in 2017. I kept my unsold short stories out on submission for the first half of the year, until they either sold, or I’d expended their potential markets. 2017 was also my best year for short fiction sales, with four stories sold! One of those I was convinced I would have to trunk despite it garnering a couple personalized rejections along the way, so that was a nice surprise. Two stories sold (Eating of the Tree and Midnight Man versus Frankie Flame) were among my stories that’d been started and not finished previously, both of which I finally got back to when a likely anthology for them opened to submissions. The final sale, to Equus, “Scatter the Foals to the Wind,” I wrote new in November 2016 and sold early in 2017. I also self-published two new Thunder Road stories in a short collection, Wolf and Wing, bringing my new stories finished in 2017 to four. Not bad, despite not making my goal.

I wrote one six page comic script, which is mostly polished, and outlined two more. Hopefully they will see the light of day this year. There’s at least one more script I’ve been noodling on, we’ll see what happens with that one.

Here’s what I want to do in 2018:

  • Finish drafting and revising Graveyard Mind 2
  • Finish drafting An Excuse for Whiskey
  • Keep my short fiction on submission
  • Systematic finishing of the short stories I’ve started writing but not finished. I would like to get at least six new stories out the door this year
  • Separating my IP from a work-for-hire project that didn’t pan out
  • Finish a draft of a secret project me and a buddy are collaborating on
  • Finish two comic scripts

Stretch Goals

  • Start writing a new book

And January specifically:

  • Revisions for Graveyard Mind

And since I spent most of January fixing Graveyard Mind, here’s my goals for February:

  • Separate IP from that work-for-hire project, which means a reread and LOTS of notes to write, and forms to fill out
  • Work on something fun and super secret
  • Write a chapter for An Excuse for Whiskey
  • Finish polishing one of my comic scripts and send it to my editor
  • Finish edits on my story “Midnight Man versus Frankie Flame”

 

 

July Goals & Half Year Check In


Time for a goals check in. It’s…uh…been a while. I skipped posting about how April went, or setting goals for May or June. But we’re at the halfway point of the year, so I thought I’d take a look back at 2017 so far.

First, how did April go?

  • Send in pitches for two short stories, write at least one of them if accepted
  • Keep working on my next novel

Awful, creatively speaking.

I did send in one of my two short story pitches, but the novel just wasn’t working. Not sure if I outlined it too heavily, and hadn’t left myself sufficient discovery points to want to keep writing, the protagonist wasn’t right, or it was a wrong book, wrong time situation. I still like the kernel of the idea, and will likely come back to it later.

And May:

  • Finish and submit April’s short story.
  • Finish my second short story pitch.
  • Submit my MAC grant application

Not much better. I really need to start following Chuck Wendig’s advice. Motivation has been thin on the ground, and a couple projects fell through that I was excited about. That’s the creative life. I did get my grant application in, so knock wood for me.

July Goals:

  • Finish a reread of an old fallow novel to identify my first round of revisions.
  • Finish a draft of a new short story for an upcoming anthology.
  • Finish another chapter for An Excuse for Whiskey.

There all caught up.

Now…what did I hope to accomplish for 2017?

  • Write, revise, and submit a book within the 2017 calendar year.
  • Keep my short fiction out on submission.
  • Complete first draft of An Excuse for Whiskey.
  • Systematic finishing of the short stories I’ve started writing but not finished. I would like to get at least six new stories out the door this year.
  • Plan out a sequel to Graveyard Mind.

Stretch Goals for 2017:

  • Edit one of my fallow novel first drafts.
  • Participate in NaNoWriMo.
  • Write a few comic scripts.

Fair to say that first goal isn’t likely to happen now. Fastest I’ve got a novel into submission shape so far is 11 months.

I’ve been keeping my short fiction on submission, but until I finish some new stories, and the last few I finished sold, many of my unsold stories are out of applicable markets. I’ve finished one of the six old stories I’d hoped to get out the door this year (and it sold, yay!) so there’s lots more work to do to meet that goal, but I’m getting closer on a few of those stories (I’ve also mostly drafted a new one, but it’ll need significant revisions before it’s out the door).

Sandra and I have only added two chapters to An Excuse for Whiskey, but we are getting closer. I’m not sure we’ll have the draft done before When Words Collide, but I’m sure having a chance to hang out in person will spur us on to finish the book. On the plus side, I am pretty sure what the sequel to Graveyard Mind will be. I’ve mostly assembled my playlist, and am close to having my outline soundtrack

Since the book I’d wanted to draft this year wasn’t working, I’ve promoted one of the stretch goals, and have been revising an old fallow draft instead. Ideally, I’d like to have it done before Can-Con in Ottawa. If I meet that deadline, I’ll be free to play in NaNaWriMo again this year.

Write on.

April Goals

How’d I do in March?

  • Finish outlining my next novel and start writing it maybe?
  • Now that I’ve changed my Thunder Road Facebook page to a more general author page, I want to start developing a social media calendar. It won’t likely involve autoposts, I hate those, but I do need some sort of plan.
  • Finish a new chapter for An Excuse for Whiskey
  • Get a new short story to my writing group for critique

I finally locked down (more or less) my outline for my next book. I’m not an outliner by nature, so this is a huge leap forward for me, process-wise. (A huger leap forward would be to have more actual writing done.) My initial outline drafts had way too much going on for the length I’m hoping to hit. I want this novel to come in at 60-65K–70K tops–which means if I succeed it will be my shortest novel. There were a couple subplots that I liked that had to be cut, because I knew they’d end up pushing the book to 90K, and better to just not write them than cut them later if I want to finish this book this year. I did start the book too, I have my first chapter roughly in shape, still not sure of the narrator’s voice, but it’s getting there. I’ve got about 5K in total, scattered across various scenes throughout the book that came to me as I outlined. So I guess I’m almost 10% done!

The social media calendar isn’t ready to roll, but I have a few new ideas for recurring posts, and I think I know the shape I want this strategy to take, so hopefully I’ll be ready to go in the summer.

Sent my chapter off to Sandra for An Excuse for Whiskey, left her with a big cliffhanger to figure out. We’re really getting in spitting distance of the end of this draft. Then the real work begins. We figured out how to write together, soon we’ll have to figure out how to edit together.

My writing group didn’t end up meeting in March, but I kept plugging away at the story anyway. I finished another draft of the story I’d wanted to submit, but it’s starting to head into novella territory, which I’m excited about, but also means it’ll take a bit longer to edit. Gonna rethink what I want that one to be. If I finish it, it’ll be the first Thunder Road story that takes place chronologically post-Too Far Gone. We’ll see.

What’s up for April?

  • Send in pitches for two short stories, write at least one of them if accepted
  • Keep working on my next novel

March Goals

What the hell happened to February?

I had my head down for so much of the month that I didn’t get around to posting my goals, but I was still working away at them.

For January/February:

  • Finish and submit my 2016 book, which came close, but was not quite ready to submit.
  • Keep my short fiction on submission.
  • Finish revisions on one new story and submit it.

Okay, it took me two months to finish that first goal, but it’s done, submitted, and awaiting feedback from my editor. The novel in question was not only my shortest to date (84K; for comparision, Thunder Road was around 95K when I submitted it, Tombstone Blues 105K, and Too Far Gone was 135K. All of those lengths changed a bit–Too Far Gone the most drastically, with a pub length of 115K) it was also the fastest I’ve ever gotten a novel into submission shape. While I didn’t hit my goal of submitting the novel in the calendar year of 2016, it took me just under 11 months to actually write and revise the book once I got down to the writing. And considering I took a few months off in the summer to finish revising Graveyard Mind, I feel better about my chances of finishing the book I start this year within the bounds of 2017.

The short story I finished revising and then submitted, sold to an anthology. I’ll talk more about it when the contract is signed, and the editors announce more details. I will say it’s another Thunder Road ‘verse story. Pretty excited to see my second sale of 2017 so early in the year.

And for March:

  • Finish outlining my next novel and start writing it maybe?
  • Now that I’ve changed my Thunder Road Facebook page to a more general author page, I want to start developing a social media calendar. It won’t likely involve autoposts, I hate those, but I do need some sort of plan.
  • Finish a new chapter for An Excuse for Whiskey
  • Get a new short story to my writing group for critique

Write on!

New Year, New Goals: 2017 Edition

How’d 2016 go?

Now’s the time to check back in with those yearly goals:

  • Systematic finishing of the short stories I’ve started writing but not finished. I would like to get at least six new stories out the door this year.
  • Draft, revise, and submit an entirely new novel.
  • Complete first draft on An Excuse for Wolves.
  • Revise 2015 WiP for submission to agents and editors.
  • Keep my short fiction out on submission.

Stretch goals!

  • Edit one of my fallow novel first drafts.
  • Participate in NaNoWriMo

And for December:

  • Finish my WiP novel
  • Clean and organize my office. (One of these years this won’t be necessary)
  • Finish a chapter of An Excuse for Whiskey
  • Finish revisions on three short stories, so that I hit my 6 new stories goal for the year

Well, December didn’t go as planned (nor 2016 as a whole, amiright?) I did spend what feels like a significant portion of my December shoveling, but still, I’d hoped to do better.

The WiP didn’t cooperate, many moving parts led to me feeling like I was treading water for most of the month, but I do feel I’ve got things in order now, and so the last scenes I was waiting on writing/revising should be done soon.

I didn’t do a holiday-themed Thunder Road story this year, which, while it wasn’t one of my goals this year, was not for lack of trying. The first one didn’t work, the second I liked, but I didn’t have time to revise to my satisfaction, and a third–well I finally figured out how to do the story I’ve wanted to tell since I set out to write “While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks” so hopefully you’ll get to see that one next year. I wrote this story on the bus, or when I should’ve been sleeping because the damned Yule Lads wouldn’t stop harrassing me.

Here’s what my year in writing looked like, thanks again to Jamie Todd Rubin, from whom I poached this template:

2016-words-per-day-screenshot

In 2015, the first year I used this simple spreadsheet to track my words, I vowed to write every day, and I did that. For 2016, I didn’t concern myself with the “write something everyday”, so much as trying to finish projects. This led to quite a few thousand less words as I spend more time editing than drafting. But that’s okay. I finished revising a novel, submitted (and sold) it. I started another novel end of March, and finished my discovery draft early in May. Outside of the final polish of Graveyard Mind over the summer, most of the rest of 2016 was spent revising that beast. I can’t say much about the book yet, but it’s close to getting done. So close that I wish I would’ve started it in February instead of March, but hey, as a wise man once said:

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Codename: An Excuse for Wolves/Whiskey didn’t get finished but we got close to a first draft, more because of me than Sandra; deadlines kept me away from the book from August to November. I’m waiting to get the next chapter back from Sandra before I dive back in, but we’re definitely closing in on the book’s climax.

The big news of 2016 was that I sold Graveyard Mind to ChiZine Publications, and you’ll be able to read it in October 2018!

On the short story front: my story “Midnight Man versus Doctor Death” appeared in Tesseracts Nineteen: Superhero Universe, and “A Door in the Rock” appeared in Those Who Make Us: Canadian Creature, Myth, and Monster Stories. I’m quite proud of both tales. Midnight Man is tangentially related to the world of Graveyard Mind, and A Door in the Rock is set in the Thunder Road ‘verse. I’m stoked for digging deeper into the world of Graveyard Mind, and of course, I’m still enjoying fleshing out corners of Thunder Road.

I revised or completed three old stories for submission, drafted two new stories that are ready for submission after one more round of revisions, and submitted a brand new story. I also spend time revising one other story, and a novella that I couldn’t quite get to the point where I was content to let other eyes see them. Very close to hitting my short story goals for the year, despite my novel focus.

2016 saw me attend quite a few events–more than 2015 for sure. I tried a number of cons and festivals for the first time. Returned to a bunch more. Creative Ink Festival was definitely a highlight. Plus, I got to meet Galen Dara and Carrie Vaughn, and both of whom were awesome!

I got to do a bunch of business with friends!

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Clare Marshall designed my new convention banner:

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Samantha Beiko and I did a comic together, (Mythfits!):

mythfits

and Sam also helped GMB Chomichuk, James Gillespie, Jonathan Ball and me put together Shared World Volume 2!

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And! Kevin Madison did another Thunder Road image and a character design for Midnight Man!

Ted!

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Check out that Kirby Crackle! One of these days I’m going to write a story about how Ted ended up in this situation, which will be a neat reversal of Kevin illustrating my words more directly.

Midnight Man!

midnight-man

I really need to write another story about this guy, ’cause I love the loony bugger.

Samantha and I had a busy and fun year with ChiSeries: Winnipeg and I’m looking forward to 2017 being the same. Between readings, workshops, and panels, we hosted seven events in 2016. Pretty good for a reading series that’s supposed to be quarterly. If you haven’t checked us out, I hope to see you at one of our forthcoming events.

All said and done, I feel pretty good about my creative 2016. I would’ve liked to have written more words, finished more stories, finished more books, and gone to more conventions, but that is always going to be the case.

What’s on deck for 2017?

  • Write, revise, and submit a book within the 2017 calendar year.
  • Keep my short fiction out on submission.
  • Complete first draft of An Excuse for Whiskey.
  • Systematic finishing of the short stories I’ve started writing but not finished. I would like to get at least six new stories out the door this year.
  • Plan out a sequel to Graveyard Mind

Stretch Goals for 2017:

  • Edit one of my fallow novel first drafts.
  • Participate in NaNoWriMo.
  • Write a few comic scripts.

For January:

  • Finish and submit my 2016 book, which came close, but was not quite ready to submit.
  • Keep my short fiction on submission.
  • Finish revisions on one new story and submit it.

That’s gotta be enough!

Write on!