NaNo Update

Whew, wow.  Yeah.  This month has been crazy.  I signed up for my third NaNo at the beginning of the July (full Nano last November, then April and July for camp), and this was the first time so far that I actually thought I wouldn’t finish on time.

This month has been busy all around, work, personal, and everything in between.  I was struggling to even make progress on The Apocalypse Gazette, which is why I haven’t taken the time to post here much.  Work work work.

At the beginning of this week I was barely at 35k with only five days to go.  Not insurmountable but way farther back than I wanted to be at that point.  But over the last three days I managed to pull together another 10k.  Which means I have to only get down another 5k by midnight Friday.

That I can do.  I might even finish a day early at this rate.

While I think I can make the goal for the month the story itself is far from done.  I’ve already come up with some major changes I need to make and 50k will get me close to done but I’ll probably need another 5-10 thousand words to wrap up the first draft.  It’s looking good though, I’m enjoying the story.  It’s a lot bigger and crazier and wilder than I thought it would be.  It’s been fun.

Like I did for the last Camp project, I put up sections of The Apocalypse Gazette on Wattpad as I was writing it.  If you’re interested you can pop over and see how it’s going.

And good luck to all of us participating this month!  Home stretch!

https://www.wattpad.com/story/41391002

Camp NaNo Win!

Wow, April just flew by but somehow I managed to eke out over 51 thousand words and complete Geeks, Greens, and Guns…

Camp-Winner-2015-Web-BannerIt’s not one of my favorite stories but I stuck it out and I posted it to Wattpad as it was written.  That might be a headache when I start editing but it was amusing.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get much feedback during the whole process.  I’d been hoping to get more interaction going on, oh well.  It was a fun experiment and I think that’s the way I’m going to keep doing NaNo in the future.  I like the idea of all writing together but also being able to check out what other people are doing.

If you’re interested in checking out Geeks, Greens, and Guns… on Wattpad, it’s available here.  Yes, I made the cover, and finished the story, I’m quite pleased with myself.

So, what’s on the agenda now?  Actually, I’m going to be pretty busy this month.  I got the name of a good editor and I’m going to be passing her a couple of my stories.  She’s local, which was important to me because I didn’t like the idea of sending money and my work to someone I’ve never met.  A couple of the projects I finished in the last six months are in good shape (I think) and shouldn’t require too much to make them publication-ready.  I think, we’ll see what she has to say.

One of the first stories that will be getting the editor treatment is one of my favorites, I’m really excited to see how it goes.

A Fun Little Experience

Some of you might remember I participated in NaNoWriMo last November.  Within the month I finished a first draft of Summerton Blues.  Some of you might also remember that as soon as it was done I put it away and started my next project.  That was advice put out by Stephen King’s that has been really valuable.  When you come back to it later it’s easier to spot the issues.

Well, in my excitement over Camp NaNo next month I decided to read Summerton Blues.  I haven’t looked at it in almost six months and figured it would probably be awful.  During NaNo I never did any revisions and I hadn’t touched it since.

cover draft 2s

What I read surprised me greatly.  I got caught up in the story and finished it in a single sitting.  At the end I got tingles.  It was actually pretty good.

Does it need work?  Definitely.  Does it need a good editor?  Definitely.  But I kind of surprised myself, it’s a solid story.  With some effort I think it’ll be a good novel.

What a great way to get pumped up for Camp NaNo.

 

 

Fight! Fight! Fight!

Whooooo!  After weeks of working out, training and sparring it’s time to fight!

Write Club Fight Club.  The writing is done, all that’s left is the fighting and today I’m up against N. J. Layouni.

J.M. Payer vs. N. J. Layouni.

I encourage all of you to visit the site, check out the two stories and vote for your favorite.  Honestly, I don’t even care if I win or not, I’m just having a blast participating in the adventure.   I’ve already learned some lessons from reading the other stories that have battled so far.  Any excuse to stretch the writing muscles in a different direction is worth the time and effort.

Feedback on both stories is encouraged and I’d love to know what you think about mine.   I don’t even want to name mine, that might skew the results and I want a straight forward battle.  I’ll just say it’s the one about the cop and a cat.  If you read it and have any suggestions or feedback, I’d love to hear it.

Battle on!  Go to WFCF and vote!

Three days until battle starts!

I’m so excited, it’s three days until the first Write Club Fight Club bout!

I’ve been plugging away at a couple different pieces; Sadie’s Adventures, Larry’s Dead, and another story project.  They’re all coming alone, though slightly slower than I’d like.  I think I’m learning moderation when it comes to writing, slow and steady rather than sprints and rests.  But the project I’m most excited about is the WCFC submission.  I can’t wait to see what everyone has come up with.

Bouts start the 29th at WCFC.

My bout is on October 2nd with N. J. Layouni.

WCFC Submission

I’m happy to say that despite all the complications, the busyness, I’m wrapping up my first submission for Write Club Fight Club.   It’s not as perfect as I would like, but that is a topic all it’s own and probably familiar to most writers.  With the time and energy I had to put into the project I think it turned out alright.

There were several guidelines for the submission:

Story begins with “It began last Fall in the woods”, it has to be involve revenge, must be below 8,000 words and the word “said” is not supposed to be used.  Full rules can be found on the post Hit the Gym.

Writing the piece was a lot of fun and definitely made me flex some writing muscles.  It would be nice to win my first bout but I’m less concerned with that than having a good time.  It’ll also be really interesting to see what all the other writers came up with.

Battles start September 29th.  Each day for the following week two pieces will be put up against each other.  My battle will be on October 2nd, I’m up against N. J. Layouni.

The fun has just begun, stay tuned here and on WCFC.

 

A little slow

I haven’t been spending much time on WordPress over the past few weeks.  I’m sure you can relate, sometimes life just gets busy.  And when life gets busy I prioritize, which in this case meant using what little free time I’ve had to work on things that are higher on the list.  For example, family, friends, and projects.

That said, I have some good news.  I’ve started work on my submission for Write Club Fight Club.

In case you haven’t been paying attention (shame!), Write Club Fight Club matches up two writers and provides a challenge.  The writers submit their work and readers vote on the best piece.  We have some interesting conditions placed on our fight, which can be found here. I’ve been paired up with N.J. Layouni, we’ve been scheduled to “fight” on October 2nd.  

I’ve been pretty psyched up for Write Club Fight Club ever since I heard about it.  So, you might think I jumped right into writing as soon as the matches and conditions were announced, that wasn’t the case though.  I was really busy and decided to let the ideas bounce around for a while.

Yesterday, I put fingers to keyboard and the story started to flow.  I’m excited, can’t wait to see where this all goes.

Stay tuned!

Pen and paper

edited-paper

I’m a little over 200 pages into my sci-fi adventure story and I’m already looking ahead to the daunting task of making it readable.  By making it readable I mean editing, because it’s going to need a lot of work.  I purposefully didn’t do much in the way of editing while I was writing because I wanted to get the whole story down before I started going through it.  Knowing myself, I probably would have gotten so bogged down by the revising that I would have gotten fed up with the project and never finished it (I’ve made that mistake before).

The longer the story gets the longer the process of making it readable will be.  For as long as it takes to write a page, editing and shaping that page will probably take twice as long.  At least.

As I’m thinking through this process, one thing keeps coming to mind: there’s no way I’m going to be able to edit this on a computer.

For the most part, I’m a Luddite when it comes to technology.  I’m interested in it only so far as it can improve my life, no further.  For example, writing on a computer is far faster for me than writing with a pen and paper, so I write on the computer.  It’s also far easier to edit and produce short works on a computer, like blog posts.  However, with longer pieces in the past I’ve always printed them out to edit them.

I’ve always edited on paper because being able to flip through the pages, make notations in the margins, put sticky notes on the important scenes, and physically hold the papers has been a vital part of the editing process.  So, I can’t imagine trying to edit this 200+ page story on a computer screen.  There’s no way.

Yet, printing out 200+ pages and going through them by hand -only to make the corrections on the computer and have to reprint the entire manuscript for the second phase of editing- seems incredibly wasteful and inefficient.

So, where’s the middle ground?  I’m thinking that I will end up doing as much of the editing as possible on the computer, spell check, grammar, etc.  Then when I’m through with the minor things, printing the manuscript and looking for the bigger changes.  It still doesn’t seem very efficient but I’m not sure how else to do it.

Is this something that other authors have faced?  If so, I would love to hear suggestions because I’m still very new to this and I’m already feeling a little intimidated.

 

**Photo from Curriculum Design for ELL**

Happy Fourth of July!

I’m not a big holiday guy, I usually keep things pretty mellow, but the fourth of July is a fun one.  It’s not that I go out of the way or anything, or immerse myself in the history of the date, it’s just that the town I live in always throws a big bash.  There’s bands playing music, tons of food and festivities, and of course fireworks.  It’s a blast.

Unfortunately, my dog is not a fan of fireworks.  The smallest firework going off will cause her to jump up bristling, full of adrenaline, and start barking.  I’m pretty sure she thinks fireworks are somehow a direct attack on her.  Which means the fourth of July and New Years are equal parts entertaining and annoying.

Today’s festivities probably won’t involve much writing, mostly drinking beer and eating unhealthy food.  And tonight I’ll probably be baby sitting a loud, panicky dog.  It’s a three day weekend though, so I don’t feel too bad about skipping my word count for a day.  I’ll make up for it tomorrow.

Here’s wishing you all good writing, a nice weekend, and a happy holiday!

fourth-of-julyImage from ETV10