December 2018 TBR

Between #NonFicNov and #NaNoWriMo, November so busy around here that I can’t believe it’s December already, despite Christmas trees and seasonal music.

But December it is. I have a pretty good line-up of books ready to go and for the first time I’ll be participating in #AMonthOfFaves. Should be fun!

Unholy Land
An ARC that was preempted by #NonFicFov. 
Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life
An impulse checkout from the library.
Ashes to Ashes: The Songs of David Bowie, 1976-2016
An ARC I will  be working on through Dec. & Jan.
An impulse ARC.
Frankenstein: Annotated for Scientists, Engineers, and Creators of All Kinds (The MIT Press) by [Shelley, Mary]
A final stab at some #FrankenSlam volts!
Grim Tales
Perfect for dark days.

The End of #NaNoWriMo 2018

The problem with falling behind, but having a make-up plan, is that if you fall behind on the make-up plan, you’re kind of screwed. And partially, that’s what happened to me. I tapped out of NaNoWriMo last week with 32,907 words written.

But also I was at a point where my plot had shifted around a bit. One or two things weren’t working and, instead of piling on more errors, I decided to call it a day on the 50K goal.

Since last week, I’ve smoothed out some plot things and some character things. I have an ending in mind, which is a good thing. I’m doing some research and I’m looking forward to starting a 2nd draft/rewrite.

So, not a NaNoWriMo win, but 32K words that I didn’t have before and intentions to move forward. Still don’t have a title…

I used Mind Meister to put together my plot plan. It’s a work in progress.

NaNoWriMo 2018 Update

Today is the 15th—the halfway mark for NaNoWriMo—so I figured I’d do an update.* So, how has it been going?

Word-count-wise, good. I had planned 25 days of writing 2000 words/day with five days off. I haven’t taken any days completely off, but I’ve definitely had a couple of (four) days of sub 1666s days. I’ve also four days substantially over 2000. My best day has been 2715 words which it possibly the best day of writing I’ve had in my entire *mumble mumble* years of writing. According to my plan, I should have 26,000 words written by the end of today. I’m currently at 25,069, so that shouldn’t be a problem.

Story-progress-wise, eeeeehhh. I’m not good at story planning. I always feel like, if I plan, I’ll lose interest in the story. As weird as this sounds, I like to be surprised at what might come up while writing. This would be fine if I were good at finding my ways out of story holes, which I’m not. But I have a rough idea of where I’m going and am trying to keep the story moving in that direction. I’m also continually repeating “This is a first draft. First drafts are terrible. But you can’t have a second draft without a first draft.” I’ve been adding a lot of comments. The story will need a lot of work, but I can’t fix a story that doesn’t exist.

* Okay, actually, I figured I’d do an update because I don’t have a review ready. I’m reading The Coddling of the American Mind (which came off hold at an inopportune time) and a book about the last half of David Bowie’s career which I have slated to last until its publication date in February…

Happy NaNoWriMo! Have a Free Book! 📚

Today is the first day of November. If you’re a writer, or you hang around writers, you also know that today is the first day of National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo). World-wide (not just “nationally”), writers of every ilk will endeavor to write 50,000 words on a new novel by the end of the month.

But, does anything ever become of what’s written in November? The answer is: yes!

In fact, I just released The Case of the Sorrowful Seamstress which has partial origins in NaNoWriMos of the past. I made a first stab at fiction featuring David P. Abbott back in 2012. It’s been a long road between that incarnation and the mystery novellas I’ve ultimately decided to write. As a celebration of NaNoWriMo, The Case of the Sorrowful Seamstress is available for free from Amazon between now (Nov. 1st) and Monday, Nov. 5th! Just head over and download it to your Kindle or Kindle app.

I’m participating in NaNoWriMo again this year with a whole new project, though there will still be a magician, a mystery, and probably several murders. No title yet. As of 11/1/18 2pm, I’m 2000 words in, only 48,000 more to go!

Writing Update, 9/26

Writing Update pic
How’s It Going?
I’m 95% satisfied with the cover I’ve come up with for The Case of the Sorrowful Seamstress. That percentage might go down after I post this and see it in a new context.

Next up: Another editing pass (I’ll probably put the manuscript through a text to speech program) and writing the dreaded “back of the book” blurb.

About This WIP
One Ahead is a series of mystery novellas focusing on David P. Abbott, a magician who lived in Omaha, NE at the beginning of the 20th century. Aside from being an accomplished magician, David Abbott was a debunker of fraudulent mediumistic practices. I’ll be delving into the history of Omaha in 1915 as well as visiting some of the magicians, mediums, and skeptics that lived in that era.

Writing Update, 9/12

Writing Update pic
What’s Going on Work-wise?
I spent time last week and the week before formatting Eric’s Martian Engineer’s Notebook series. It took a little longer than I expected. The books are a deep dive into the science behind Andy Wier’s The Martian and have a lot of mathematical and chemical equations. The biggest hurdle, though, was wading through the Kindle previewer/exporter’s error messages. I’ve been formatting in HTML/CSS and creating my own .opf and .ncx files which are what Amazon uses to build the book’s .mobi file. I understand what I’m doing with each file, but that doesn’t mean I don’t occasionally typo a link, save a file to the wrong folder, or designate something as a “class” instead of an “id.” Figuring out what I’ve done wrong from the error log is amusing/frustrating, but ultimately satisfying as are most debugging endeavors.

I’ve also finished the formatting for One Ahead: The Case of the Sorrowful Seamstress and this week I’m working on an editing pass. I’m 2/3rds through. And then I’ll start working on the cover. …I have very little idea what I want to do for a cover…

Since the beginning of September, I’ve also been reading up on the structure of mysteries. I’m not super great with plot, so I think I might want to try my hand at a more formulaic genre. While not exactly a “how-to” article, one of the more interesting essays on the subject that I’ve found is W. H. Auden’s “The Guilty Vicarage.” I’m toying with the idea of really planning a book leading up to NaNoWriMo. I do already have a character and setting in mind.

Recent Research Topic:
Related to that possible NaNo project, I’ve done a little research on how far into the 20th century the chautauqua edu-tainment movement lasted. Turns out, into the 20s, which is perfect for my purposes. As a shock to none, I’ve also been reading issues of The Sphinx to get a feel for what opportunities there were for working magicians post-WWI.

Writing Update, 8/22 ~ Return of the Uncanny Valley

Writing Update pic
How’s It Going?

First of all, I’ve put Our Past in the Uncanny Valley up for download for free at Entangled Continua Publishing. No strings attached. It’s available in .mobi, .azk, .epub, and .pdf formats. (Am I missing a format? Let me know, I’ll see what I can do.) If you’re interested in some classic short stories about automata, check it out!

The next thing I’m working on is publishing One Ahead: The Case of the Sorrowful Seamstress. I’m currently giving it an editing pass, next I’ll format it, then give it another edit pass, then make a cover for it, then give it another edit pass. I think I’ll be able to get it up on Amazon by early October.

About This WIP
One Ahead is a series of mystery novellas focusing on David P. Abbott, a magician who lived in Omaha, NE at the beginning of the 20th century. Aside from being an accomplished magician, David Abbott was a debunker of fraudulent mediumistic practices. I’ll be delving into the history of Omaha in 1915 as well as visiting some of the magicians, mediums, and skeptics that lived in that era.