So, I guess I’m overdue for an update.

First things first — finished major edit of Gain of A Man Less (down to 41K). Tossed out a stupid amount of words, and I kind of feel like I took a step back from the story. On the other hand, at least I can now think of moving forward. Kind of.

Of Rats In Darkest Corners (71K): the soul searching continues. I think I’m back to a non-scientific explanation for the problem, but now I’m having a dilemma concerning the “source” of the problem. There’s a thought that stuck in my head, that would make it much, much tougher on the protagonists’ state of mind. So much so that I’m wondering if it’s not too much. I know the rule of thumb is, do the worst that can be done to your characters without going stupid, and this wouldn’t be going stupid, nor would it be doing drama for the sake of drama alone. But it will change the underlying theme of the story. Drastically. To the point I’m not sure I want to do it. On the other hand, it’s a twist that I feel is potent. Thought process to be continued…

Counter Central (19K): Yes, that one came to life. Got it past that 15K mark I was shooting for at the start of the year. Out for feedback. Happy noodles.

The Journeyman (51K): Got some feedback on it, and it’s got my usual 1st person POV problem. So I have to work in some more detail into the beginning of it and throw it in for a round two.

Sake of the Pack (13K): I’d considered shelving it, but I’m going back and forth on this one. From previous feedback, needs more world detail, but otherwise strong voice and interesting plot, blah blah blah, but I’m kind of feeling “out of the zone” on it. Because it’s a strong voice (my favorite type of character to write, so easy to get into his voice), I almost want to work in the missing details and throw it in for a round two. But I’m not sure that I want to work on this story. Either that, or I need to re-envision where it’s headed and hopefully get back into the zone on it.

Dancing with Demons (36K): Super-happy to report I actually fixed the beginning of this one (its original beginning sucked badly, it was literally a discarded excerpt from mid-chapter of Sake of the Pack). It’s out for feedback, so we’ll see how well this beginning works, if at all. But I did straighten out a ton of issues I had with it before, and I think it’s going good places.

Crossing Roads (56K): Out for feedback. My main issue with this one is length and how quickly it moves toward its plot; similar to The Journeyman, actually. I like each and every scene by itself, but I have the nagging suspicion that taken together, the scenes aren’t moving the plot along quickly enough.

Linking Rings (23K): Fixed the beginning. I still love this story and it’s totally the type of story I want to write. So I did send its beginning out for feedback. At the same time — look at that list of stories up there!! Crazy daisy.

Continuity of Shadows (13K): It’s out for feedback, but I had a glimpse into what to expect… and I’m getting a “main character bored = reader bored.” I’ve always known it’s a risky start (the protagonist isn’t supposed to be bored, he’s supposed to be convinced he’s meaningless, but that probably just shows I’m not a good enough writer to pull it off). But it’s the start that makes sense for this story, so I have to make it work. In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve tried starting it later, long after the “inciting incident,” but that was just bleh. The meaningless bit is pretty much the heart of the theme of this story. But maybe I’ve front-loaded too much of the world in there and I’ve slowed it down too much. We’ll see. I’ll wait for the official feedback before I think about it further.

Castles of Sand and Stone (85K): Out for feedback. Kind of holding my breath on this one, as I have no idea, whatsoever, what to expect. On the other hand, as I’ve mentioned a ton of times before, I love this story to bits, so I hope it won’t go too horribly. =)

Trajectory (27K): Yup, the script has now been inserted into a word document, and I’m (slowly) starting to convert it into prose. It will be novella length and it will be 1st Person POV, so it will take a ton of work to get there… but it’s the right thing for this story. I feel like this could become a really good one. Then again — I first have to make it readable.

The Continent Series: Empty Spaces (4,5K) and The Turn of the Wilds: Bent Steel (53K): They’re both inactive right now, but I’ve been considering pulling them both forward as a first (only?) book in what I thought of as their respective series. Both The Continent Series: Moving Targets (7,6K) and The Turn of the Wilds: Tarnished Red (12K) are obviously stories I like. But … With Moving Targets, I feel the story is more style than plot (it’s supposed to be a cat and mouse chase between a newly minted criminal and an undercover soldier in a “stunted” pre-digital age type society, i.e. atompunk, but it’s a bit … thin, and I can’t think of a way to “fluff” it out without breaking Empty Spaces, which I think works quite well as is). With Tarnished Red, I have this idea of what it should be, I feel like the story is interesting… but I don’t feel interested in writing it. Maybe that will pass, too. Either way, both of these stories/series are on hiatus, but both may reemerge as single standalone stories. I guess that remains to be seen.

Oh, and I’ve submitted to Writers of the Future again. And I have a short story accepted into an anthology. More on this when the time is right…

Now, for various reasons, Gain of a Man Less is top priority. This includes a slight edit of the first portion, a major edit of the rest, and incorporating a completely new direction for the ending. (and actually ending it, so I can send it out).

Of Rats in Darkest Corners is one I want to toss in the feedback pot. I have a bit of a dilemma — one of my issues has always been that the “powers” are magic at this point (think, superhero type stuff). And I like to keep magic in fantasy worlds. So a while back, I brainstormed a way to take the magic out. It’d take some editing (though not too much) to implement it. But I can’t decide whether I really DO want to change it. It moves away from the original “feel” of the story… so, yes, I have a major decision to make: whether to keep the super powers bit, or whether to go for tech gone bad. But it’s a high on the list one, to throw into circulation.

The Journeyman and Crossing Roads are getting sent out for feedback. I may do a quick edit run through each, but in general, I don’t plan on spending too much time on them before I clear Gain of a Man Less and Of Rats In Darkest Corners from my plate.

Counter Central is getting a kick in the butt. I’m shooting to get to about 15K, so that I can get others’ eyes on it. So when I get very stuck on Gain of a Man Less and need to take a break from it, but still be productive, this is the go-to story for new writing.

Continuity of Shadows, with its new start, will get a slight edit pass (mostly for structure) and will again go out for feedback.

Linking Rings will be next; I need to fix some weirdness with one of the POV characters and bump up the hardships of the other. But all these are minor edits, so I hope to send it out at the same time as The Journeyman and Crossing Roads.

I hope all of the above will be ready for next steps by the end of February.

If everything goes great or better than expected, I’ve got Locked Land (I need to incorporate some feedback and write on, ideally to 15K before I can show it), Dancing with Demons (I need to get its beginning in shape; possibly start with Teyin instead of Arex — some brainstorming needs to go into it, but it’d be mostly shuffling things around to fix a meh beginning), The Chasm (write it to 15K so that I can show its beginning around), and Windrise (which is right now more concept than story, but I know it’s strong enough to push).

Sake of the Pack is one I’m scratching my head on; I have feedback I can incorporate to make it stronger, and I’m tempted to toss it in the mix as well. Probably not something I want to tackle in the next few months, but it’s bugging me.

Castles of Sand and Stone will probably go out for feedback to hopefully get tips on strengthening the beginning. It’s not a secret on this blog that I love this story, but I’m completely aware that the beginning is not “modern” hooky.

So… this sums it up. Lots of work ahead of me.

Over a year without word count updates, and just a couple of posts. Maybe it’s time to get busy on here again.

Despite my seldom appearances here, I’ve been neck-deep in story woes.

Most importantly, the Sycrit Projekt (TM), which is actually neither secret nor much of a project, has been going … blah. Which is where my hiding under rocks is rooted. Working with others is fun, rewarding … and not nearly as easy as I’d like to pretend it is. Especially when the others’ contributions are pretty much: your story sucks, change it, and then radio silence for a few months.

Either way, that’s life. Kind of going back to the mercenary mindset I wrote about, what, a couple of years ago, now?

On the side, though, I’ve been making plans and working on other stories. I’ve sent stuff out for feedback, even took a screenplay re-writing class for my foray into scripts, Trajectory. Fun times.

I should do a more detailed account of the planning stuff, but for now, let me get the word count stuff out of the way:

Gain of a Man Less: 19K –> 51K. Looks impressive when you put it like that, no? (though probably not for a full year) Either way, there’s still something something going on with this story, though not quite as it promised to go last year. I’ve put in a ton of work, structure-wise, and obviously, there’s the word count. But I’ll be going back and trimming the hell out of that word count, before going forward… so, hopefully, I’ll be reporting on it soon enough.

Counter Central: 6K? –> 7K. Notice the lack of question mark? Yes, I threw out the previous 6K and wrote a brand new 7K. Loving this story and where it’s hopefully headed. We’ll see how long that will last.

Chasm: 1K –> 3K. Another story I’m quite liking. It’s low on my priority list, but I like the restart, and I may push on it a bit to see if I can get other people’s eyes on it.

Castles of Sand and Stone: 84K –> 85K. Tiny bit of progress, but I went back and edited quite a bit. Not unhappy with this story. I never am, but it just moves sooooo slowly.

Dancing with Demons: 31K –> 33K. Another tiny addition, but it was a fun scene. I had it in my head, and had to put it on paper. Now, back on the shelf, you!

Turn of the Wilds: Tarnished Red: 11K –> 12K. No new writing, but I decided to add Kata’s POV to this story, and added an older scene that, with a bit of editing, will start another perspective on the main plot, and will keep the novel structure inline with Turn of the Wilds: Bent Steel.

Continuity of Shadows: 5K? –> 13K. No new writing, just made the executive decision to use The Reason For Being Human (Flipside of Reason) as the starting point for this story instead of the previous text. Oh, and I wrote a synopsis with which I’m quite happy. So, okay, some progress.

Leaves Die First: 0.5K –> 10K. No new writing, but I transcribed some handwritten chapters to Word, so yay!

Convergence: 0K –> 0.5K. A new story. There was actually a longer beginning — until I realized that the first 3K words aren’t nearly as cool of a start as the last 0.5K and scrapped them.

Windrise: 0K –> 0.1K. A new story. Loving the idea behind this one. But it’s low on the “high priority” list. If that makes any sense.

Trajectory (Screenplay): Contest came with feedback, which I incorporated and the word count went up. Since this is technically finished, I won’t treat it as progress. But if I do want to do something with this story, based on the ton of feedback I got on it, I either need to take the Machete to it and go crazy, or turn it into prose. I’m considering the latter … later.

Of Dragons and Swords: 188K –> 200K. La la laaaaala…. Getting closer, and closer… Still not there, though. 10K to finish. I hope I can stay within this limit. I have the two major end scenes in my head though (I’m having a bit of a Castles of Sand and Stone struggle, in that I’m about to kill characters I really like, so I’m reluctant to go into these scenes… but I’ll get there. I hope).

Of Rats in Darkest Corners: 71K –> 71K. Not much of a word count increase (there actually is, but I’m keeping these scenes out of the official WC, in case I change my mind and throw them out). But I’ve added the bit I struggled with (one of the POV characters’ introduction, which was kind of important, but I didn’t know how to originally set up so that it fit the rest of the tone of the story). So, yay!

Crossing Roads: 53K –> 56K. And yes. Halfway in, our MC isn’t invincible anymore. I’d set it up from the beginning, but I finally got to this scene. Luvya, Curse!

Castles of Sand and Stone: 78K –> 84K. Got through a very sensitive for me spot. I hope I handled it well? Readers will tell. If they ever get to reading this story.

Dancing with Demons: 30K –> 31K. Tiny addition, but this isn’t an “active” story, so I won’t complain. A step forward is a step forward.

The Journeyman: 50K –> 51K. Yup. Neckbreaking progress. Well, there was potential neckbreaking in this progress, so does that count? I’m liking how the characters are coming along, though, so, score!

Gain of a Man Less: 19K –> 19K. There’s a bunch of things going on with this story. Not making it official on the diary yet (afraid I’ll jinx it?), but there’re eyes on this, and I’ve been working a ton on edits and the story themes/plot. Just a small word count increase lost in the rounding of the WC, but that’s because I also killed a scene.

Counter Central: 6K? –> 6K?. More brainstorming on this one. I’m REALLY liking it. Kind of tempted to throw it in the “active” mix. Won’t, because of Gain of a Man Less, but tempted nonetheless.

The Chasm: 0K –> 1K. The opening scene was bugging me, so I put it down. Not 100% happy with it, but it’s on “paper.” Will probably end up either re-writing it, or at least editing it a bunch. Not the time of this story yet, anyway.

Trajectory (Screenplay): 66/120 pages –> 117 pages. FINISHED. And sent to a contest. Yay! (first round of results expected second week of January)

 

Since August 14, 2015:

Of Dragons and Swords: 175K –> 188K. Ended up scrapping quite a bit of writing as I tried a couple of different directions for one scene, and the last attempt may also get scrapped. But it’s, well, moving, so that’s that.

Of Rats in Darkest Corners: 69K –> 71K. Tiny motion that I’m not sure I’ll keep, but I worked through a couple of things that were bothering me before. I also got a bit of an “ah-ha!” moment with one of the POV characters, so happy noodles!

Crossing Roads: 49K –> 53K. Not a huge jump, and some of it may need to get reworked. But the story’s moving forward, so I can’t complain!

Castles of Sand and Stone: 71K –> 78K. Pretty happy with the addition! Still moving slowly, especially since I’m due to kill off two notable characters and I really love one of them, and that will be tough on me again. But that’s been the theme of this story (in more ways than one), so, moving on.

Dancing with Demons: 29.5K –> 30K. Is 500 words worth recording? Well, maybe no, but it was a fun tiny segment to write (some nerdy fun with technology).

The Journeyman: 45K –> 50K. Not unhappy with the bump, and the story’s moving, but I still don’t seem to have much inspiration for it. Even if I do think it’s one of my stronger stories, both writing and concept-wise. It may need a bit of help with the storytelling, in the sense of cleaning up some of the introspection, but other than that, I really have no complaints about it. Other that I just don’t seem to get into it well enough for quicker progress.

Linking Rings: 17K –> 19K. Worked through a major snag (kinda needed to move on with the story). This one isn’t an officially “active” story, but the idea how to handle the problem did strike me, and I thought I should work it in. It’s actually a story I’m pretty happy about, and I have much plans and hopes for it, but since it’s somewhat low in current WC, I figure it should sit until I start finishing some of the stories that are further along.

Gain of a Man Less: 18K –> 19K. Another tiny step forward, but I got the characters to their next scene. Another not high priority story that I have high hopes for. Again, it’s sitting at the back of the line due to its low current WC.

The Turn of the Wilds: Bent Steel: 51K –> 53K. Added a fun action scene (well, not so fun for the POV character, and he’s still in a whole lot of trouble, but it was fun to write). The TotW series has gone through a concept revamp, and I’ll need to work quite a bit on the first book before I return to Bent Steel officially. But that scene will definitely stay, no matter what changes I make to the rest of the book, and it’s always fun writing competent characters in deep trouble, so it was a good break from everything else.

The Continent Series: Empty Spaces: 2K –> 4.5K. I know I shouldn’t be working on this story. It’s book 2 of a series that I’ve barely touched in the last several years. BUT. Oh, that “but.” I’ve thought about the story concept on and off lately, and it offered a good opportunity to scratch an itch to write technobabble for a bit. Furthermore, I’m quite happy with the addition, because it offered some world-building opportunity, and I love world-building!

The Price of Loyalty: 1.7K –> 1.9K. Yes, 200 words. I’ve shattered all world records on word count per year! I originally wasn’t even going to include this, but the truth is that I’ve been thinking about this story quite a bit too. It won’t see the light of day any time soon, but it’s a concept I’ve loved for a long time (very challenging, which is probably why it’s never seen much word count) and maybe some day I’ll have the confidence to dive into it. Until then, here’s another 200 words on this story.

Sake of the Pack: 12K –> 13K. Another story that has been sitting, waiting for me to get over reservations writing it. But I did open it back up for nostalgia’s sake, and it got a bit of a bump in word count. Pretty much finished the next scene. There’s still quite a bit I need to figure out on it, and I’m still somewhat intimidated from the scope of it. I once said I’m not a good enough plotter to tackle the concept yet. Has anything changed since then? I’m not sure. But considering how many other stories I still have to work on, I really have no reasons not to let it sit for a while longer.

Broken Circles: 112K –> 115K. Hah, I actually had to open the story to see where that progress came from. So, yeah, I actually added a very important set of scenes that I’d managed to forget about in the last few months. Surprise! Not unhappy at all, though. The scenes do push the story forward quite a bit.

Trajectory (Screenplay): 61/120 pages –> 66/120 pages. Tiny movement. (I actually have about 72 pages on it, but the rest are possible inclusions, not official ones) The main progress was in figuring out the end scene, though it’s not written yet (I had trouble visualizing how to keep the actions of the MC true to her character while making the planned ending work).

The Chasm: 0K –> 0K. I have not officially started writing it yet, but I’ve done some brainstorming. I figured I’d include it in the update, since it’s a sweeping update. It’s a YA story in an old, old secondary world of mine (Dead Men’s Stand is in the same world). I kinda knew what I wanted to do for a while (about seven years ago, I wrote something that could have been a prologue for it, if I didn’t think it was too spoilery). But the opening is now starting to take shape in my head, and if I ever get the time and inspiration, I may write it down.

Locked Land: 6K? –> 6K? Another concept update. I’ve got a major jump on the world concept and on the plot! A long time ago, when a beta reader of mine saw what I had on it, they suggested some interesting possibilities for the plot. I thought they were very cool, but took the story very close to some existing stories by other authors. The story wasn’t a priority anyway, so I let it sit. But I recently got to thinking about it. And I’m excited to report that I’ve not only figured out quite a bit about the world and the story, but I’ve stayed true to its concept and have not veered towards other people’s IP. I have not put any of my new thoughts into scenes yet, though. And I’m not sure how much of the existing writing I’ll end up using, so I’m putting the question marks at the end of the word count.

Remnants: 1K? –> 1K? I actually tried another beginning for that one, but I probably won’t keep it either. I still love the concept, so I’m not throwing it out, but it’s not this story’s time yet.

Counter Central: 6K? –> 6K? Another “sitter” I’ve thought about lately. So I made a lot of progress on the concept, which I’m VERY happy with. But I won’t bring it back into focus, even though I think some of the themes may be pretty current.

I’d love to say that about sums it up, but, no.

I’ve revived my attempts at short stories.

One is in the works, at about 2.5K. It’s a high-tech story heavy on themes, so it’s taking me a little longer to iron out the end.

Another two are in the brainstorming stage. I’m not sure if I’ll put effort into writing them anytime soon, but I like the concepts, so I don’t think I’ll let them die either.

Since about the start of the year:

Of Dragons and Swords: 170K –> 175K.

Of Rats in Darkest Corners: 63K –> 69K.

Crossing Roads: 45K –> 49K.

Castles of Sand and Stone: 66.5K –> 71K.

Dancing with Demons: 28.5K –> 29.5K.

And … because, pineapples:

Trajectory (Screenplay): 0/120 pages –> 61/120 pages

So, NaNoWriMo went well for about the first week or so … then I fell flat on my face (due to real life stuff).

I got in about 16K total for November, on Of Rats in Darkest Corners alone, before it happened. (Of Rats in Darkest Corners current WC: 63K)

Then, since the start of December, I’ve done some nibbling on a few stories. Nothing worth even updating WCs for. But I’ve been brainstorming on stories instead, and I’m not unhappy about some of the newest decisions.

I’ve been talking about splitting up the two monsters (Broken Circles and Of Dragons and Swords) into three parts each (in about 60-80K segments) for some time now. I finally “modeled” what these splits would look like. And I think they may actually work!

The first part of Broken Circles would consist of all sections before the Team gets split up (up to the end of the Feat). The second would contain the individual endeavors, and the third would be everyone working on the same world problem again, from the new perspectives they’ve gotten in the second part.

Of Dragons and Swords doesn’t split as cleanly, unfortunately. I’m thinking of having a “cadence” to them (of MC leaving and returning, each time with a new perspective). Word count-wise it works, but each end would be after the new arc starts, which I don’t know will work for sure. Broken Circles would have a little bit of that too, but its ends would be more akin to hooks, and not like I plan on doing for Of Dragons and Swords, diving right into the next arc and stopping when it’s already starting to build up.

But I guess I’m willing to try it anyway.

Which means that I may end up first doing the splits and diving into editing each of the first two parts of the stories (which are, for all practical purposes, already shaped, though they need work to bring to the quality I hope they can be). And as long as I stick to the plans I have for each story, I may be then able to finish the third parts much easier too.

I’ve also done a lot of thinking on Turn of the Wilds and the overall story. I’m actually glad it went on hiatus, because where I’ve stopped ended up being the ideal place to have the ah-ha! moment I had on it recently. I’ve pretty much figured out its overarching theme. It’s a pretty huge deal, since I was struggling with wanting there to be more to the morphology of the world than just “wouldn’t it be cool if.” So, now I think I have that! The biggest problem: I really liked the individual book titles I’d come up with (Tarnished Red, Bent Steel, and Scarred Flesh). They worked nicely for how I’d planned the original stories. Now, however, the books won’t be as focused on one individual character per book, but will be more evenly spread between the larger cast (Bent Steel had already gone there — that was one of my concerns with it). Anyway. I’m glad I had my little creative epiphany on it. I’m still looking at a mountain of work, but I think I have a clearer direction, and hopefully a bucket-load of inspiration … when I get back to it.

Against all odds, Dancing with Demons also got a look lately. This goes along with my desire to give my fantasy stories a bit of rest. (Dancing with Demons is a space opera-ish story) To be honest, I’ve been missing the free-for-all pseudo techno-junk babble. It was fun reading through. And it’s still a fun (for me) story. I don’t know when I’ll pick it back up next, but I’ve been working through some of its current knots (in my head), and maybe it will get some love (read: bump in WC) in the near future.

I guess we’ll see.

The promised word count update:

Of Dragons and Swords: 161K –> 170K. Still taking its sweet time. I’m a little frustrated with it, but there’s enough in there that I like that I think it’s not a waste of time. Its fate will be either a major overhaul and trimming that keeps some of the existing scenes, or reworking it into three parts. I’m still not sure which one it will be. I’ll figure it out after I get through the end.

Of Rats in Darkest Corners: 43K –> 50K. This year’s pick for NaNoWriMo. We’ll see how that’s going to work. But I’m not unhappy with the progress so far. For a while I feared there were too many pieces, but they’re finally starting to fit together.

The Journeyman: 42K –> 45K. I’m liking where it’s heading, but, to be honest, I’m back to feeling burnt out on it, though I’ve hardly worked on it this year. Go figure.

Castles of Sand and Stone: 65K –> 66.5K. Another story I like and think it’s heading in the right direction. I did consider it for NaNoWriMo this year, just by virtue of practically having an outline for it and a successful 50K being almost a guarantee I’d finish it. But this has always been a slooooooow progressing story, and I decided I didn’t feel like working on a fantasy novel this year.

Dancing with Demons: 27.5K –> 28.5K. Just one new scene. It’s not a story I’ve got in focus right now, but I did randomly get the urge to work on it once these past several months. Not unhappy with the addition, either.

I also did some editing / tiny additions to Crossing Roads, TotW: Bent Steel, Broken Circles, and Linking Rings. I do wish I wrote faster, and devoted more time to writing … These are all stories that I hope I’ll finish one day (and that they’ll be readable).

Anyway … that sums it up, I think. Seven long months, not enough progress with writing, unfortunately.

I have not made any writing resolutions. Really. But these last three days (and four or five before them) have been comfortably productive. I’m not talking about a mind-blowing word count, or breakthroughs in stories, or stumbling into brilliance or anything of the sort. But stories have been moving. My attention has been a bit scattered — that is, I’ve been jumping between stories like nobody’s business — but I’ve been generally on the happy side with everything that’s ended up “on page” — so I can’t complain.

Ironically, Of Rats in Darkest Corners got a small bump. Remember how I was saying I hated chapter 0? Well, not anymore. Hopefully, it will also fix the problem with there being no early hints at its magic realism inclinations. (Of Rats in Darkest Corners current WC: 14K)

Another story that got love this past week is Crossing Roads. I’m excited about this one. I had a pretty good idea what I wanted to do with it, but the plot was kind of sketchy before. I now have a much better plan for it. Hey ya! (Crossing Roads current WC: 8K)

I finally did some work on one of the stories I’ve wanted to start translating from Bulgarian, The Price of Loyalty.  Not 100% sold on the title, mostly because it gives a wrong impression of the story (it’s not about mercenaries or heroes or lovers). I ended up moving away from the original text almost immediately, and ended up with two brand spanking new opening scenes, which I think do a much better job introducing the world. (The Price of Loyalty current WC: 2K)

Dancing with Demons and Broken Circles did some crawling forth, but not much (it was the realization that I’m not as close to the end of Broken Circles as I originally thought that sent me off to work on other stories). (Dancing with Demons current WC: 26K; Broken Circles current WC: 108K)

On a slightly different note, the book I’m currently reading is cyberpunk. I sometimes wonder how I don’t drive myself crazy…

Apparently, the hiatus lasted much, much longer than I thought.

I’m back, though… kinda?

It’s been a notably bad year, with a few really, really good things sprinkled in, to keep me sane. The last major personal upset was that I got nearly all of my mobile electronics stolen (work laptop, cell phones, camera, back up drives, etc…). Other than professional implications (although my company was really gracious about it, especially since the timing, and resulting severity of the theft, was work trip related), the worse personal bit is that a lousy human being out there has a copy of ALL of my creative stuff. And I do mean all. I’d finally gotten off my lazy butt and backed up everything…

Everyone I’ve shared my fears with has tried to calm me down, telling me that the thieves probably won’t do anything with it — hopefully, by now the portable hard drive has long been formatted and sold — but I can’t help it but have mild panic attacks every so often, that some jerk out there has gone through my drawings, or stories… I feel… yuck.

Anyway… This happened some time ago now, so I’m slowly recovering.

But for a while, I couldn’t even look at my stories without thinking of the theft, and the fact my creative work has fallen into a stranger’s hands. This resulted in almost two months of avoiding thinking about my stories… but I finally shook it off, I think … I hope, anyway.

So, back to our regular programming.

Of Rats in Darkest Corners is officially on hold. Before the theft, I did attempt a “Chapter 0” and even started on Chapter 3. “Chapter 0” is at this point horrible. Chapter 3 is going in the right direction content-wise, but feels excessively flat. Furthermore, I think I’m now back to “Fantasy” mode, so the story goes back to its shelf, until further notice. (Of Rats in Darkest Corners current WC: 13K)

On the other hand, Turn of the Wilds: Bent Steel got quite a bit of a bump in word count before the theft. This is the second time in my writing life that a character comes out of nowhere to overtake a story and, just like the first time, it’s all kinds of awesome! I also clarified a direction for the book, so — yey! The biggest frustration… This is actually the SECOND book of the Turn of the Wilds group of stories. Tarnished Red comes first. And Tarnished Red is, unfortunately, stagnating at a couple of chapters, that I’ve been thinking about rewriting anyway … It’s not that Bent Steel can’t stand on its own — but I’ve had this constant nagging feeling in the back of my mind that it’d be better to finish Tarnished Red first, even while Bent Steel was flowing onto “paper” like nobody’s business. And that’s not a good feeling to have. (Turn of the Wilds: Bent Steel current WC: 50K; Turn of the Wilds: Tarnished Red current WC: 6K)

BUT … after my “return,” the story that’s coming back into focus, mostly for reasons of it being close to the (at least official) finish line, is Broken Circles. This one also comes with its own set of frustrations — since the first 20K words were written way back in college, they need a major rewrite not only for language, but also for content. There are also so many side stories (ones that are already on paper, and others I wonder if I shouldn’t tell anyway), that the word count promises to majorly bloat out of proportion. And there’s also the (at least for me) natural fear that I won’t be able to tie all the loose threads into a good end. I mean, I HAVE the end in my head, and in a quick abstract. I know what happens with each of the characters. I know how the plot gets wrapped up. I have the content… but what scares me is whether I’ll be able to pull it off as writing and storytelling. There are some very, very tough scenes coming up. I’m an ambitious writer, but I’m not a good writer yet. And having to write some of these scenes intimidates the fuck out of me. (Broken Circles current WC: 103K)

Finally, the “guilty pleasure” space opera story that turned into a mainstream one … Dancing with Demons. About a quarter in, it stumbled onto a good and I think worthwhile plot, so I’m now taking it out of the “guilty pleasure” category. I’ll keep the focus on Broken Circles, of course, but I’ve found that my writing process must allow for me to jump between at least a couple of stories, or otherwise my writing goes flat. So, Dancing with Demons has come into the spotlight. It’s mostly Star-Warsy type action (think the Knights of the Old Republic games, not the movies — without the Force, and with more factions and mercenaries =), with two awkward (hopefully, not in a Star-Warsy way) love stories (one just kicking up, another already going strong) thrown in the mix. It’s been pretty fun writing it. I don’t know if now that it’s “serious,” the enjoyment of the process won’t change — but I still like the story and hope to bring it to an end someday soon. (Dancing with Demons current WC: 24K)

So, that’s it for my long overdue update. Toodles!