Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The End of the Year

2013 is mere hours from unraveling, so hopefully I have just enough time left for one more post. And I figured, since I haven't done one of these in awhile, it's probably as good time as any for some...

A post wherein I write about my writing, its current state, and where it's heading from here...

So, yeah... writing, amirite? Sisyphean like a Motherfucker, ya'feel me?

Yeah, you do.

Anyway, like I said above, I haven't done one of these in awhile and I know you folks out there have been literally gagging for news. I know it. For that, I apologize. For both of you long-time readers out there, my excuses will be familiar ones. I've been distracted. Or busy... whatever you want to call it. Basically, a big part of why I haven't posted about any of my writing stuff lately is because there just isn't much to tell. I'm at it. I'm in there. Plugging away. When I can. Things move. Some. And that's the TLDR version of the entire post right there, folks. Thanks for stopping in, see you next year.

But if you're not into the whole brevity thing... Life in general has been horning in on my "Shit I'd rather be doing" time these last few months. An unfortunate reality for which I only have myself to blame. I'll admit it. We all know it. Lotto, you have to be in it, to win it, right? Truer words, truer words... I mean, have I purchased a single ticket in the past five years? Ten years? Fifteen years? No. I could'a been a millionaire, man. I could'a been somebody... Come on, Jon!


Also, I started a new job this summer. That's right. It's a real job too. No more Counter-monkeying. No more Salt Mines drudgery. No more shady mercenary positions in run-down organizations under the wretched gaze of tin-pot Dictators and half-wit Thugs. No! Now I am but a single cog in the great machine, the one responsible for cranking out the droves of useless and overly-entitled little carbon copy bastards of tomorrow.

It's kind of fulfilling.

But... as a result, I've been a bit of a different schedule lately, and adjusting to that hasn't been easy. I hate getting up early in the morning, y'see, because I always have trouble going to bed at night. I've always been a night owl. I don't try to be, but I can't not be. I'll just be home, doing my thing, and then I look up, and shit... it's Two in the God damn morning again and I have to be up by six. It's happens all the time. It's aggravating. It's tiring. It's leads to a somewhat disconcerting reliance upon daily tubs of iced coffee. And mostly, it makes it hard to work on stuff the next day. But I can't help it, it's just my nature. Plus, it's getting better. Actually, it's not that bad. In fact, it's mostly just the timing that's unfortunate, since everything was starting to even out right as the usual holiday season crap--which always takes up way more time than I ever want it to--started to pick up speed. Super annoying. And on top of all that, I don't know if any of you non-locals out there get the news wherever you are, but it has been the super-bitter cold as shit out here lately, and let me tell you, my friends, cold like this is an energy-sapper. So, in a nutshell, a sudden confluence of ill luck and previous engagements came crashing together and I have ended up slogging to catch up in an effort to eek out a new balance with my writing time. It hasn't been easy. Especially since I'm also a little lazy... I'll own that.

Shocking, I know.

But that's not to say that there hasn't been progress. There has been, in fact. There's been good progress. So enough with all the hoo-ha and the boo-hoo-hoo-ing, let's dwell on positive shit for awhile instead. You may have asked yourself as the days went by: "Where is he at? How's he doing? My God, what's the story?"

Well, here now, finally... Let me tell you:

The Impossible Virginia Dare (the current project)

Currently, I'm in the doldrums. Still sailing, still moving forward, but there's very little in the way of wind happening. Such is the way of things. Low tide. Low batteries. Depleted stores. The doldrums. Pick your metaphor, they all end up the same place. The story is maybe a third done, maybe more, maybe not. I know what I want from it. I have a pretty good idea what I need to do. And I know my ending. But sometimes things can get a little bogged down. The problem with times like this, is that other projects can start to seem pretty alluring, promising treasure and adventure and interesting and new paths easily forged, like sirens singing you toward the rocks. You stray too long, you're gonna end up dumping your project. You have to be careful. You have to know when to ditch and right now? This isn't the time to ditch. It's not broken beyond repair, it's just slow, but sometimes those other projects can help make excuses and...

In an effort to combat this, I am trying out a new technique lifted from friend and fellow Scribblerati Agent Mark Teats (and presumably others...). I'm writing the story non-linearly. Right now, I'm island hopping, basically, jumping back and forth along the story line and hitting on the moments I think I'll need or maybe just want. It seems to be working. Although, I'm prepared to eventually be faced with an extremely needy Second Draft, but... that's the future. Right now, I believe I can finish the First Draft by early Summer--I should be able to. Hopefully. Fingers crossed--and then I'll probably walk away and let it cool on the windowsill for awhile before diving back in.

Status: In Progress. Slow, but awesome. It might not work out, but I'm feeling cautiously optimistic.

Gunslingers of the Apocalypse

The Grand Old Dame of my writing efforts has been sitting out of the dance for awhile now. I put my time in with it. I finished it. I sent it around and it did respectably out there, but in the end, it also went nowhere. Don't feel bad, these things happen. Onward and upwards. Time to move on. But then, I had a friend of mine do a new read-and-respond. He's one of the guys responsible for putting out Cifiscape Vol. 2, and it went great. Very helpful. Very insightful and it might help me really nail down the third act. We shall see. So, newly armed, this year I intend to print the beast out again and start re-editing, perhaps Draft 9 zillion? I'm looking forward to tackling it again. It's actually been a long time since I've even opened the thing. Where does it go after that? Who knows. Nowhere, maybe. Probably. Doesn't matter. The point is, I think this could be the end-all-be-all final draft, the "for better or worse be done with it" draft. That's good news. When will I do this? Soonish, soonish. Honestly, the biggest hurtle is going to be printing the bastard out.

Status: And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Monsters (Working Title)

That Working Title really bugs the crap out of me. It's definitely not right. I've been thinking about a more permanent one lately, but they're all still a little under-cooked and gooey, so we'll leave them aside for the moment. I finished the first draft a year ago? Two years ago? Nope... Apparently, it was on Oct 10th of last year, so it was a little over a year ago. I was not happy with the First Draft at all, but at least it was finished. That's something. However, I wasn't sure how to fix the issues, so since then the Draft has just been chilling out, marinating, and in that time I've had some ideas. Will they fix my issues? Will they even work? We shall see. I've decided what I'm going to do first off in an attempt to address its issues, so that's something. After that... eh, ya' never know. Sometimes you just have to hope a spark will ignite a blaze, y'know? Anyway, my plan is to print this one out, most likely on the same day I print out Gunslingers. And after I finish the First Draft of my current WIP, then I'll begin the Second Draft of this one.

Status: It's sat long enough, I'm ready to dig back in. Dragons, baby. Dragons.

Burgeoning Projects
The best news of all--or at least the most encouraging--is that besides these three projects, I have three strong ideas waiting on deck that are just a nudge or two away from blooming into full blown WIPs. I've got a couple of files of ideas and short stories in various stages of construction, but there isn't a lot of spark there, it's mostly just noise and imagery. But these three particular ideas here? They've each got their own folders now, because they grow easily and they need the space. With a little bit of attention, they could be something cool. Plus, I kind of like that all of my projects--past, current, and probable--are all different genres and, for the most part, sellable, I think. The flipside of course is that these are my previously mentioned Sirens. They call to me. It's nice to know they're there, but for now, I just have to ignore them. For now.

Status: Bountiful, but I've had to plug my ears with wax.

In the end, things are moving along, albeit slower than I'd prefer, but then, forward motion is good motion. Looking out over the width and breadth of my projects, I think I can say I have about decade of projects ahead me, give or take, and barring any new ideas shoving their way in... So as long as I don't die by Blue Ice Phenomenon or get kidnapped by Aliens--which I naturally assume to be my most likely scenarios--I'll have plenty of things to work on into the future.


Writing away,

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