Thursday, May 31, 2012

Pointless Statistics

I had to do a radio interview yesterday about the library's summer reading program. This is not the most horrible of things, but it does make me a little nervous. So the night before I couldn’t write during my writing time. After a couple of failed attempts to get going I ended up going through some of my published pieces.

Then for some reason I decided to see how many words I have written. Of course quality is much more important than quantity, but I was really just trying to find something to distract myself. But now I have this big pile of meaningless numbers. Today I decided to post these on this blog in a half hearted attempt to convince myself it wasn’t just a half hour of wasted time coming up with them.

Since 2009 I have written 123,000 words in short fiction, 350,000 words in finished novels, and 127,000 words in novels that are still in progress (there are four of them partially done). For a grand total of 600,000 words or an average of 482 words/day.

Hmmm…that’s something huh…well that means um…just a sec let me use my google-fu(takes break to google writing/ words count/ etc. in an attempt to find a reason why he did this pointless research) (takes another break to eat a sandwich: ham, cheese, mustard, and pickle on wheat)

Apparently Stephen King says that the first million words you write are just practice. That means I am 60% done with my “practice writing” so by that standard it should just take me a few more years to be a good writer.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

An Acceptance and a New Writing Style

I got an acceptance to Bards & Sages Quarterly. The Last Dragon will be appearing in their December issue. Off the top of my head I think this is my fifth story accepted by them. If you are a fantasy writer looking for a place to send a short story I can’t recommend them enough, the editors are great to work with and they put out a professional looking product that you can be proud of.

My current novel is coming along nicely. I just hit the 20,000 word mark. Everything seems to be flowing a lot easier this time. So I am asking myself what is different about my process this time. The only thing I can think of is the outline/plotting process. I wrote my first couple of novels with no outline, these were fun stories but lacked structure. The plot ambled along, going this way and that, until the end came out of nowhere (a lot like most of my blogs).

I wrote my next novel with a very rigid outline. The novel plugged along but writing it just wasn’t any fun. It took me about twice as long to finish the novel. And I really think you can tell that I didn’t even like the story or the characters by the time I got to the end. And to be honest I can’t remember how the thing ended. I can tell you all kinds of details about the novel I finished in 2009 but the one I finished a few months ago is a mystery. I think that really says something about me and rigidly structured writing.

This time I have an outline, but I am allowing the story to go where it wants and then I write a new outline whenever I need to. It is much more organic, providing structure without hampering my creativity. I think I may have finally found a way to write that really suits me and what I need as a writer. Of course I won’t know for sure until I finish novel but I can say that this writing process is making me a lot more productive.

In other news, that is only vaguely writing related, the summer reading program starts on Saturday. This is the busiest time of year for a children’s librarian. Last year we had just over two hundred kids sign up for the program, I am hoping for more this year.

The last day of the program is July 13th. The doctors say that I will be a dad on August 22nd, but there is a very good chance that it will be a month or so earlier than that since we are having twins. So it might be awhile before I can squeeze in any blog posts or writing time to find out if I actually did find “my writing style”.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

An Amazing Picture

Here is the first picture of my kids! I have to come right out and say that this picture amazes me. I knew they did ultra sounds, I have even seen a few, but who knew that they did 3d imaging of them? Not me. Apparently our pictures aren’t as good as most. The fact that we are having twins kind of messes with the whole thing. But here are the first pictures of James Dylan Roberts and Emily Madison Roberts. She is the one on the right. He is one the left. As for why his picture looks so strange, his nose is being smushed by her rear end, and he has his arm up there trying to push her away. Poor guy.

Since this is supposed to be a writing blog I will also mention that I had a really great writing session last night. I got over three thousand words written in about an hour and a half, which for me is an amazing pace. The novel has quickly veered completely away from everything I outlined. The characters are different, whole new plot threads have appeared, and a minor throw away character is starting to become the antagonist, heck whole new magical races of people have sprung to life. All of this probably means that I need to make a new outline over the next couple of days. I hate that. It means I won’t be able to get any writing done for a day or two.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

My Pleasant Trip To Loserville

Well, I guess I had an off night. My story did not win the contest. On the plus side I got a very nice rejection letter, I know you’re asking yourself how can rejection be nice, and my answer is that you need to submit more stories cause eventually you’ll find a real stinker of an editor who tears you a new one for no apparent reason. My worst has been “Writing isn’t for everyone, maybe you should find a different hobby…”

This one talked about how great the story and the writing were, and told me again how I had made it into the final four. Then it went on to tell me that the content of the story might alienate a small portion of their expected readers. They wanted to be “pagan-positive” and my story had an evil witch in it. This was a unique reason for a rejection and I have nothing but nice things to say about the market.

On a completely different note here is a link to Patrick Rothfuss’ blog. It is a post about mother’s day and his mother who has passed away. The post really hit home with me and I thought I would share it. I lost my thirty years ago and my dad about eleven years ago. I didn’t realize so many people dreamed about their lost loved ones until I started to read the comments. LINKY LINK

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Crossing My Fingers

I just emailed to ask about the status of one of my short stories that I submitted a few months ago. The market was only looking for one story and was offering pro rates. I got an email back saying I have one of the last four stories in consideration. I kind of feel like I am on a reality show and I made the finale. Crossing my fingers, that this might actually be my first published pro sale.

If I lose I need to remember to be gracious and thank the judges and shake the other contestants hands, after that the host will give me a big hug and tell me how great I am and that I just had an off night and tell me how I’ll get that record deal someday and…or um…guess it isn’t that much like a reality show, but it is still pretty cool.

Side Note: For those of you who remember and are wondering, yes I did have one other pro sale but the publisher went under after paying me but before my story was ever printed, leaving that particular story in a weird limbo.