Badlands #3 is off to the editor

I just sent Out of the Badlands, book #3 in the trilogy, off to the editor tonight. I worked for nine hours straight today cramming the revisions in, but I did it.

My brain is fried and my eyes don’t focus right, but the damn thing is done and out the door. Out of my hands now.

Kindle Instant Preview

So I figured I’d try out this Amazon book previewer thing and whorishly chose my most recent release to do it. 🙂 Here you go…

DWS on Perspective

Great article by Dean Wesley Smith on newer indie writers and their perspective on the business of writing…

Perspective

I know that I did really well during the Kindle “Gold Rush” and I did not have the skill to back it up. My expectations got skewed and I got kinda down on things when sales dropped off. But I didn’t quit; instead I focused more than ever before on the writing and paying my dues. I’ve learned what works for me and, most importantly, I’ve learned how to have fun at it again.

Dean’s taught me a lot, even though he doesn’t know it. If you’re a writer and you’re not following this guy you’re missing out on some of the best advice in the business; no exaggeration.

Twelve Days Into Familiar Lies

I thought it might be effective to show the progress on this novel, mostly to illustrate how an hour a day of consistent work adds up:

 

I’m twelve days in and writing at a respectable but not astonishing pace. Not even two weeks and I’m already 20% into this 75,000 word novel (around 60 pages).

I’m on schedule to finish this one probably mid-March and with my proofread-as-you-go approach, I won’t have any tedious rewriting left on it when the book is finished. I wish I’d started this rewriting approach sooner than halfway through the last novel. Hindsight is 20/20, I suppose.

By the way, this godsend of a technique is due in no small part to this article by Dean Wesley Smith. And a nod to Lawrence Block, who also does it this way.

And now I’m off to watch the new X-Files before bed. 🙂

 

Weekly Digest, Episode 4

Another good week with a lot of progress. As of Saturday I found myself nine days into the new novel, Familiar Lies, and having more fun writing this book than I thought I could have without an outline. I don’t know what Max’s son may or may not have done, I don’t know what’s going to happen next and I surely don’t know how it’s going to end.

And that’s okay.

As I write my tenth novel, I’m starting to feel a confidence level that I haven’t before had. I’m trusting the process and trusting that my subconscious will cook up what I need as I go. I’m familiar enough with good story structure these days to know if the book is going off the rails or not and my style is settling into patterns with which I’m comfortable.

In other words, I think I’m getting the hang of it.

As for the past week, here’s the word count breakdown of January 17th through January 23:

  • Sun: 1,368
  • Mon: 1,668
  • Tue: 811
  • Wed: 1,427
  • Thu: 1,343
  • Fri: 905
  • Sat: 1,350

Total: 8,872 words

On Tuesday I only managed one sprint, so that 811 number is actually a pretty good pace. Friday was exactly the opposite; two sprints netted me only 905 words. That happens.

Averaging it out, I hit 1,267 words per day, a number I’m noticing more often than not these days in my spreadsheet. I think I’m slowing down because I’m being more deliberate with what I put on the page. I’m much more concerned with getting it right the first time now, even if that’s slower. Outside of circling back the next day and giving what I just wrote a quick proofread, I won’t rewrite those words again. This is changing my pace, but ultimately since I’m not rewriting things to death I’m spending less time overall. A net gain in time and I don’t have to suffer through rewriting (which is the worst).

I’m 69 days without a miss as of today, including up through this morning. Writing every day has had a tremendous impact on me, keeping me in the story, allowing the words to accumulate at a pace I’ve never before seen and it has created a habit that I can hardly consider breaking now.

And writing is more fun than ever.

Powered by Baroness

Purple basically on infinite repeat since it came out in December.

This one really nailed it for me, taking me from casual listener to super fan. What’s even better is that I’ve gone back and listened to the older albums with a new ear and realized how spectacular they all are.

The second half of my weird western novel was written almost exclusively while listening to Purple. Each morning at 4:30 a.m. I’d wake up, put on this album and fire up the word factory.

Good times…

So if you’re into eclectic, original rock n’ roll check these guys out.

Now THESE Are Halloween Costumes

No princesses, no super heroes, no cartoon characters. Just the manifestation of your nightmares at your doorstep.

Better give them some candy and hope they go away.

 

Weekly Digest, Episode 3

Looks like I forgot to do last week’s update. It just never registered at all on my radar for some reason. I’ll have to set up a weekly reminder for the future, I suppose. For now, I’ll just cover the last two weeks in this update. Maybe I should take out the “weekly” part of the title, should I forget again. 🙂

Here are the totals for the last two weeks:

  • 1/3 – 1/9: 9,195 words
  • 1/10 – 1/16: 8,510 words

My unbroken streak continues; 60 days without a miss as of yesterday. I also finished up the weird western book and I suppose I’m sticking with the working title: The Saint, the Sinner and the Coward.

It’s worth mentioning that I can now see why so many people advocate writing every day. Even though it’s only an hour a day that I spend on it, I’m so much more engaged and plugged into the stories I’m writing by spending a little time each day with them. And I’m getting much better at the craft by doing it every day. I suppose it’s a form of immersion, similar to what folks do when they want to learn a foreign language.

In other news, I started a new novel a few days ago, as I mentioned here on the blog. I’m looking forward to it.

As for the sprinting technique, I’ve been doing it for more than five months now. It seems so long that it no longer bears repeating. I’m confident enough to say that I’ve developed the habit and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. I suppose a major life event could derail me, but barring something of that nature I’m committed and plan to be for the foreseeable future.

I now have four novels in the can, waiting for copy edits. I’ll be sending over Badlands #3 to my editor by the end of this month, after which I’ll send her my Mothman novel in February. That’ll get two of them out of limbo, leaving only the extra Badlands novel and the weird western in need of edits. After that, I think I can maintain a regular release cycle of every other month. That would be ideal and would allow me my goal of publishing six books this year. And I’m super excited about that.

Now it’s back to work for me. I still have two sprints to get in today to meet my quota (and a pizza to get into my belly).

 

Into the Dark with Familiar Lies

Familiar Lies

I’m planning on writing Familiar Lies without an outline. I know I go back and forth on that, but I think on this one I should discover what happens to Max Williamson’s son the same way he does.

Dean Wesley Smith calls this writing into the dark. He’s even written a book on it. I don’t know that every book should be written with or without an outline, but I now know that every book is a little different. Sometimes, I think, the approach will vary. It has for me, at least. This will be my tenth novel, so maybe I’m getting good enough at this whole writing thing to feel confident enough to go at it with no map. 🙂

I honestly don’t know what happened to the son. Was it foul play? Not sure. I don’t know what Max is going to find out. I have some suspicions, but I’ll have to wait and see if they’re confirmed. I do know that Kevin Williamson was not the person his father–or anyone else, for that matter–thought he was.

I also know that Max is not who he thinks he is.

A lot of people are like that.

It should be great fun. I’ll post more about how the process is going once I’m further into it.

Weird Western Finished

I finally finished the weird western book I’ve been writing for the past couple of months. (Tentative cover attached.)

I started the book on November 18, 2015 and finished today, January 13, 2016. Close enough to two months duration to call it that. It clocked in just shy of 75,000 words or roughly 300 pages.

It took me 57 days to write it, so an average of just over 1,300 words (5 pages) per day. Not bad, but a little slower than I normally write. I’m fine with that; some books just take a little longer. It’s also worth mentioning that I wrote those 57 days consecutively, without missing a single day. That’s the first time I’ve ever accomplished such a feat while writing a book.

Now what’s awesome is that before I picked up on Chris Fox’s sprinting technique it would have taken me an entire year to write this book. So that would have been it for me in 2016; just this one book that I agonized over for eight months in first draft before rewriting it eight or ten times in revisions.

Instead, it took me two months, start to finish.

Consistency is king. Also, I didn’t rewrite the shit out of it.

It’ll be a while before I can get this manuscript into my editor, but it’ll be published later this year. Now my only problem is figuring which book I start on tomorrow morning. 🙂