Thursday, November 1, 2012

NaNoWriMo Day 1

Word Count: 1,208
Total Word Count: 1,208
Daily Word Goal: 1,667
Words Remaining: 48,792

Well, that was a lot harder than I remember. It's been months since I wrote, and the main thing I took away from this experience is that the hardest part about starting a new book, or starting writing at all, is that you not only have to think of what happens, but you also have to do so while wrestling with your self doubt.

The entire time that I was writing this I kept thinking to myself how much what I was writing sucked. And it does, it really does. I just never realized how much my internal editor was keeping me from writing. While I didn't meet my word count, I'm considering this a good start for being out of the daily writing game for months at a time.

I'm not really doing this to finish the whole book in a month, though it would be nice if I did. My real goal here is breaking past that barrier I haven't been able to break past. Namely the barrier where I'm so used to doing this that continuing is a lot easier to do than it was before breaking that barrier.

I actually noticeably hit that barrier while I was starting out podcasting. I got to a point where it just didn't feel worth it. But I had co-hosts that wanted to continue, and so I did, and I ended up not only enjoying myself, it's actually gotten easier to actually get the podcast done.

Of course editing it is a completely different matter...

I'm considering this first day a success, now I just need to get my writing done earlier in the day so I can feel more accomplished. When I'm not berating myself for how crap my writing is that is...

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The BownBlog - Open For Business

I may not have been the most consistent updater of this blog, and there are two reasons for this. One, I've been trying to focus more on my review blog, so a lot of my writing blog updates fall by the wayside. Two, I haven't been writing fiction nearly as much as I should have. Thus, without anything substantial to say on this blog, I let it drift into obscurity. But, as a ploy to try and get myself writing again, I've decided to actually participate, and complete, NaNoWriMo. And as part of that attempt, I'm ressurecting this writing blog.

I'll be providing daily updates on my progress, as well as making the attempt to write some other writing related posts. But mostly, for now, I'll be updating this blog daily, to gather my thoughts after each day of writing.

My goal right now is to complete a book, I've started several books, but haven't gotten all the way to the end with any of them. Part of my problem is lack of focus, I think of something cool, but once I start working on it, I think of something even cooler, so my previous project suddenly becomes onerous and is abandoned. I won't let it happen this time.

The book I'm working on is actually inspired by my cousin's toddler. During a family visit, the first time we'd gotten together since he'd been born, he came face to face with me for the first time. Keep in mind, I haven't cut my hair in about a year, and my beard had several months worth of growing under its belt. As a result, the kid wouldn't stop staring at me. He never got close, but every time he walked past me, he would just stare like I was the most fascinating thing in the world.

By the next family get together, everything had changed. Gone was the childlike fascination, in its place was something entirely more...annoying. The kid took one look at me, and broke out into tears. I could move to close to him the entire night, without him wailing like I was some kind of frightening, hairy beast.

This gave me an idea, for a pseudo-horror middlegrade book. Where the monster is a wizard, menacing a young boy. From that I got the idea for, and plotted almost the entire story for, There's a Wizard Under My Bed!

The premise is that young Carter wakes up one night to the smell of rotting eggs and soured milk, and finds that a wizard has accidentally opened a portal under Carter's bed, and he is not happy about it. When nobody believes a word he says, Carter decides to go through the portal under his bed, and bring back the proof himself.

The basic structure of this story came to me fairly easily. Which either means it's a shallow idea, or I'm better at this than I actually realized. Either way, I decided a few weeks later, that I would make this my NaNoWriMo for the year. I hope that actually using the website to log my progress will encourage me to actually finish. I'm planning it to be a little more than 50,000 words, so what I'll probably be doing is starting off at the recommended word count for the month, but hopefully after that I'll be able to pick up the pace.

My plans beyond that are to finally finish editing the original draft of Dragon's Egg. I have a version of that book that is still unfinished, but I'll come back to that later, as it's more YA than middlegrade, and I need to get the middlegrade version presentable. After October I'll be spending at least the first part of November editing that manuscript so it doesn't suck. I'm not entirely sure how long that will take, but I intend to spend the rest of that month tying up some loose ends on my unfinished stories. Namely, I intend to complete the YA edition of Dragon's Egg before moving on to my next book, Swords. After that I can't  be sure what I'll be doing next. I'll have to play it by ear.

But for now, my tentative schedule is:
October - There's a Wizard Under My Bed!
November, First Half - Edit Middlegrade Dragon's Egg
November, Second Half - Finish YA Dragon's Egg
December - Swords

Hopefully actually planning this out will give me a chance to stick to my schedule. I'll try to keep up to date on my blogging, but for now my main focus will be getting my writing done every day. Whatever time I have after that will be spent blogging. I know that I've said similar things to what I've said in this blog post in the past. But this time my resolution is tempered by the fact that I've had consistent exposure to a normal job. While I do have a pretty good job, I've learned that I won't be able to stand a lifetime of working a regular job like this. So, for the sake of being able to live the life I want, I'm going to do my very best to finally get something published/actually get something finished.

And if that means forcing myself to go back to old stories and finish them, then so be it.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Alloy of Law Midnight Release

I figure that I should probably start this blog up again. Since my review blog tends to get more hits, I tend to focus more on that. But I really should be building this blog more, since I need a blog where I write about anything and everything, but mostly writing.

I went to the Alloy of Law midnight release last night with Nathan and Jason. They sold out of books, but I never really intended to buy the book. I just wanted to be at the event and have Brandon sign my copy of Towers of Midnight, and my kindle.

Isaac Stewart was there, and he remembered me from the Way of Kings signing, or at least we think that's where he remembered me from. All we were certain about was that he remembered me from somewhere. Either way, it was a great evening, despite waiting forever. Me and Nathan harassed Brandon on Twitter, but he never responded to us, so I think he may not have appreciated it.

On the writing front, I have to confess that it's taken a back seat to getting school work done. Of course that's what I say but even I don't believe it. Fact is I've been pretty lazy, which is why I've been neglecting this blog. I intend to get back into the flow and actually finish this book I've been stuck on for far too long. I need to stop doing that, getting stuck on books.

So I intend to post here more often, even though nobody really reads this blog so much. But I'm not too worried about that. This is the blog I intend to put on my business card for conventions and stuff.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Fail Blog is Fail

I just got a comment for one of my reviews over at Burning Lizard Studios. It was left by Anonymous, and all it said were the cryptic words: "fail blog is fail"

At first I thought, "What a jerk, I put a lot of effort into this. Who is he to dismiss my work because he, or she, does not care for it?"

Then I realized. It's not that whoever this person was used an outdated internet meme to be critical of someone because it gives them a chubby. Oh no, it was not so simple. This person, this idiot savant, was sharing the fundamental truth all bloggers share. Sure his syntax could use some work, but the gem of truth was there, amid the midst of all that bile condensed into such a small package.

This is that truth, That blogs that fail, are in fact failing.

He could have told me what he did not like about my blog. He could have said something to help improve future reviews. He could have done literally anything, and it would have been helpful. But instead he chose the path most beneficial to me. For if I did not figure this out on my own, the lesson never could have been mine. Instead of giving me a fish, he taught me HOW to fish.

Truly, this person, this...Anonymous, is a modern day Confucius. Though he sits in his mother's basement, cheeto stained fingers leaving prints on his keyboard, he has abandoned all physical needs for the pursuit of true internet mastery. Only he alone knows when a blog is fail, and he gives his wisdom only to those worthy.

Thank you, Anonymous, I will never forget the favor you have shown me. I myself will pass it on to others. I will spread your holy word, that fail blog is fail. Bless you! Oh bless you great master!

Fail Blog is Fail!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

40K Landmark Reached!

Years down the line I'll look back on this event and wonder how I could ever be excited about reaching only 40,000 words.  But for now I will enjoy having written the most I've ever done for one project.

That being said, I find it interesting that I've almost doubled the word count from the first draft. And I'm not even really halfway done.  This is probably telling me that I have a lot of fat that needs to be trimmed, but I'll save that for after I'm done.  I would cry if I decided to cut down on my word count now.

Where I am right now I'm not too satisfied with the scenes I've been writing. Unless I can fix them up in later drafts I'll probably cut them out. I hope I don't have to, though since the main purpose is for world building, I think I can safely say they will be cut. Not very encouraging writing something knowing it will be cut.

I've started preparing to plan my next book, currently titled Epic Heroes: A Test of Heroes (name likely to change). I haven't started planning yet since I still need to finish up the plan for later on in Dragon's Egg but that should start soon, so that by the time I finish my current book I'll have a new one to work on.

Since this is mostly my personal blog right now, I don't really ever expect people to read it.  I should work on posting more entertaining entries, maybe that will bring people in.  Those that do read this, keep in mind I have more than one blog, you might enjoy checking a few of them out.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

New Computer - Almost reached 40K

My laptop broke recently.  I just got it replaced yesterday with a new MacBook Pro.  They're about a thousand dollars at my campus store, so overall not a terrible deal.  Especially when you count in the free printer and photoshop elements 9. 

It's taking me a while to get used to Lion, so much has changed since what I'm used to.  But it's a pretty sweet machine, here's hoping it lasts a few years. 

I got a bit of writing done yesterday, but my productivity suffered from angry birds.  Which is stupid because I'm about five hundred words away from breaking the 40K written for one book landmark.  Just ten thousand more and I'll have reached the minimum word count for a middlegrade novel.  Too bad it isn't halfway done, and it isn't really a middlegrade.  But it's nice to know that I could start wrapping up and it would be long enough.  It'd just suck.

I've written double what the first draft of this book was, but since it isn't done yet it doesn't feel like an accomplishment.  Now that I look back at it, considering the first draft a finished book really didn't count.  So I have yet to finish an actual book.  This makes me feel like I haven't gotten anything done in the past few years.  I've worked on several stories and books, but never finished anything.  It will be nice to have finally finished an actual book.

The main thing I've learned from this experience is that the most important part of being able to finish a book is increasing the amount one writes per hour.  If you can get more done in a day then your book will get done much faster.  Just ask Nathan.

Anyway, today I'm going to break that barrier, after getting some homework done.  I might go fishing, I'm not sure, I probably won't have time.

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Dragon's Flame Goes On

Well, it's been a while since I've updated this blog with something about my actual writing.  Since the point of this blog is to separate my reviews from my writing updates, it kind of defeats the purpose if I don't keep people updated about my writing.

That being said, ever since Nathan laid down the law, I have been writing every day, missing only a day or so out of the week.  I should be writing every day, but I think that having a day where I don't write be the abnormality, rather than the days I do write, is a step in the right direction.  Right now what I need to do is increase my minimum from a thousand words a day to two thousand.  I try my best to never be under a thousand words, but sometimes it just happens.  The nice thing about a thousand words minimum is that anything below five hundred words just isn't satisfactory and hardly counts as actually writing.  And by the time I've reached five hundred words, going to a thousand just isn't a big deal anymore.  And once you reach a thousand words, what's to stop you from writing a few hundred more?  And then a thousand more?

I'll tell you what stops me, the fact that sometimes I don't start writing until one in the morning.  This is a bad habit, I need to stop it.

I should take the time to say that this is all thanks to Nathan, and in part to Jason (who created a nifty excel document that we can all use to keep track of our progress and compare it to the rest of writing group.  Makes it much easier to be accountable when you see how much you are sucking), that I've been able to reach this phase where I'm writing pretty much every day.  He doesn't have to get on my case, but he does, and I appreciate it, since I'm finally moving to that phase where I will be able to get myself to write so much more easily.

That and it's kind of shameful to have to be forced to do something I love and want to do for a living.  My eventual goal is to be known as one of the more prolific writers published.  This will take a while to happen.

That being said, I'm currently most likely half way through Dragon's Egg, I have a good chunk of it planned, and once I finish my long form notes for the plot I'm going to start working on planning my next book.  I intend to have this book be fifty thousand words, but I imagine it will be a bit longer than that.  So I'm either halfway, or three fifths of the way through.

There's a lot that's going to need to be changed up, some major edits that need doing.  Since the book is meant to be a middle grade I'm going to need to remove a fair bit of violence (I honestly can't help it, I don't think I'm cut out to be a middlegrade writer, YA might be as young as I go).  But since I like the violence, I'm going to make two edits.  A middlegrade edit that is meant as a gift for my cousin, and a YA version that I'll actually try to get sold.  This depends of course on which version I like better.  If I go the YA route I'm going to have to make Melan a good few years older.  And once I do that, a lot is going to change.  The earlier stuff written when she was still ten, and everything else written when she was twelve.  But I think for now I'm going to finish it up, and then start work on my next book after I do the middlegrade edits.  This will be the first actual book I've finished (full length that is, I've finished plenty of shorter (sucky) stories, but never a full length book).  What I need to do next is start on a new project so that I can actually claim to have a portfolio.

Anyway, classes have started again, which means the real challenge starts now.  Now we see if I can make myself write even though I have homework, and if I can juggle it all along with keeping up to date on my blog.

Pray for me, people.  Pray for me.