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.

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.

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!