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.

… and there isn’t much I can say for myself.

The stories have mostly sat. I ventured into script writing (revamped an unfinished short story), but the air got zapped out of it when I read an article bashing flashbacks … and the script is structured around flashbacks. Ah, well. Maybe it will liven back up when my brain processes the whole flashback mess. Maybe not.

My “good ol’ stuff” … a little bit of progress on Of Dragons and Swords (yeah, I know, I’m sick of hearing about it inching towards the end too). Tiny progress on the other two “young protagonist” stories, Of Rats in Darkest Corners and Castles of Sand and Stone. I also nibbled on TotW: Bent Steel, Broken Circles, Gain of a Man Less, and Linking Rings.

The TOTAL, however, works out to be about 15K words written in six months (sans the script, which is probably another 10K). So I don’t really think it’s worth a more detailed word count update.

Hard to believe it’s April already. I’m so very behind on my plan. But, ah well.

Quick recount of last month:

Of Dragons and Swords: Officially burnt out, and still no end to it. I’ve decided to put it aside for a while, before I start completely hating it. (Of Dragons and Swords current WC: 161K)

Broken Circles: Small addition. Did a bit of rereading on it too. Not unhappy. (Broken Circles current WC: 112K)

The Journeyman: Wrapping up the last scene. Second plot object about to be “on screen” and I’m thinking I need to pick an interesting aesthetics for it (and then go back and change the first plot object’s appearance accordingly). Should be fun. (The Journeyman current WC: 42K)

Gain of a Man Less: Gave the beginning to an alpha reader. Got a bit of an ego boost. Also, a tiny, tiny finishing touch that I’m really happy about. Life’s good. (Gain of a Man Less current WC: 18K)

Of Rats in Darkest Corners: Added another scene with a Crazy. Finalized that I’m shuffling some of the friendships around and I think they work better now. Yey! (Of Rats in Darkest Corners current WC: 43K)

… the last post made me realize it’s been a while since I’ve done an account of progress. The main reason, unfortunately, is that September and October turned out horrible writing months. I barely made any progress. And I’ve only been working on one story since the start of November.

But, for the sake of accountability:

Broken Circles: 110K –> 111K (I’m a little bleh on this story right now; I still have hopes it may be a good read when I reach the finish line, but I have no fire for it right now)

Castles of Sand and Stone: 64K –> 65K (Crawling … mostly just working on everything else but this story; if the NaNoWriMo experiment proves successful, that’s the … er, fifth story to which I’ll give the treatment; so, I don’t expect a lot of progress on it anytime soon)

Of Rats in Darkest Corners: 27K –> 41K (The Dream World sequences stayed; new POV character came about; all in all, I’m happy with how this story is coming along!)

The Journeyman: 39K –> 41K (Another direction shift, not in a bad way; I’m finally knee deep in plot, and trudging through it won’t be easy)

Crossing Roads: 44K –> 45K (I decided on a character addition I’m pretty happy about; and I moved away from a sequence of scenes that just didn’t seem to happen; though I’m again stuck in a fight that simply won’t work; furthermore, I showed the beginning of it to someone whose opinion as a reader I value a lot, and they pretty much tore up my fight scenes, so there will be rework; ah well, I still have high hopes for this story)

Gain of a Man Less: 16K –> 17.5K (This is a novella that just got refashioned as a novel; most of what happened on it was plotting — and good plotting it was — and I’m rather happy where it’s going, even if I know it won’t get there fast; by the way, reminder: all of these titles are temporary!)

Last but not least … Of Dragons and Swords: 25K –> 69.5K (Heya! Forward we march with dread and doubt! But the scenery is scrolling past, and maybe there’s even a destination somewhere beyond that hill!)

So, that’s about it for now. I hope to do the 50K word count for November entirely on Of Dragons and Swords, though I’ve already snuck in some additive editing on Of Rats in Darkest Corners, because, why the hell not, right? (but — I am staying honest with myself: I’m not adding the extra words on ORiDC to the count against the 50K target =)