Patch 1.0

Locked in 43,000 words, I feel I have overwritten things for the Red Whale. 

I know it’s said to finish the draft first before applying rewrites, but, it’s just not working for me. So I stopped writing forward and moved back a bit, all the way to the second chapter actually, and started making a few tiny fixes. 

These include:

– Shortening chapters. 

– Tightening sentences.

– Removed characters.

– Added new characters.

– Deleted entire chapters.

– Toned down the dark by two shades.

– Included new sub-stories for new characters.

– Deleted sub-story arcs. These were intended for future use.

– Picked up the pace.

With all of that I ended up with 38,000 words. I still feel there’s a lot to do here but for now I’m content and I’ll start working on new material.

In other news, spent an hour and a half playing “Super Mario Maker” and learned how to Shell Jump, P-Switch Jump, and Spring Jump. So far, Shell Jumps are the most difficult to do.

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Production at full go!

After weeks of going back and forth in other things that needed immediate attention, I am back at full production for “Year of the Red Whale.”

My word count has soared up to 50,000. It is not a great number from a shy over 35,000 from last month, but I managed to plunge right through it. I had to delete entire sections and chapters of the novel to begin a fresh start with greater clarity in mind.

It’s never easy to cull huge chunks of your story. Sometimes it is necessary though. Who knows, maybe they will end up as part of a “Deleted Scenes” section, somewhere, somehow.

This is still Draft 1, I should say. But I’m doing everything I can to polish it as I go deeper into the story. Maybe that’s why it’s taking me too long to finish the entire damn book.

I’ve also finished writing a short story titled “Shiny’s Purple Bottle.” It’s a story about a woman and her mother.

I think I’ll send this off to a magazine. Maybe at Shock Totem when they open submissions. I’ve always wanted to get my story published by them, been watching them from the very start. So far I had submitted one story to them, which was rejected, and after looking at the story, I can see why they, or any other publication would decline in publishing it.

I do hope that this new short has the meat and bones professional publications are looking out for. I’ll keep polishing this story until Shock Totem becomes available.

In the meantime I’ll draft another short story. One that isn’t horror or weird, for once. All my shorts are either of those two. Maybe I’ll try my hand for science-fiction and aim for Clarkesworld.

 

This Year in Writing

In 2016 alone I must have written over 500,000 words. Less than 80,000 had gone to my works-in-progress. The rest went to the broadsheet I work for. A small, but significant fraction goes to the website that I co-founded.

This year in my writing feels like a good one, in an odd sort of way. I didn’t finish anything. But I managed to pick up a few scraps of ideas here and there from the old notebooks and quick, short conversations with friends, and managed to reconstruct a thing or two out of it.

In a rushed job, between August 2015 and January 2016 Project Ashes has 30,000 words. But it was a mess of a job. I skipped chapters and entire arcs, from the early events I jumped to the climatic battles that had been dancing in my head for months, I developed too many characters in a book I targeted to have 70-80,000 words. I rewrote scenes, leaving the original texts in the first draft, and redid entire chapters within the same chapter. I thought it was fine. Then I focused on my wedding preparations, the wedding itself, and the post-wedding events, plus moving in to the new apartment, and other things. By the time I went back to Project Ashes, I realized to my mortal horror how much of a screw up I did. May to September was spent on editing the first draft to make it coherent and have a smoother flow. More than half is going to be culled and I’m going to need reduce some characters’ roles, if I want to retain a 70,000-80,000-word novel.

As if I didn’t learn, between sorting out all the chaos, I jumped way ahead and started writing Book 2 to relax my aching head. It turned out well. In fact, it flowed so well, I am seriously considering abandoning Book 1 and focus on Book 2. And why not? It starts out in media res, with a new character, in a very different location. The original characters became an afterthought and their current situation feels like an even better hook than how they were introduced in Book 1.

The thing about Book 1 is: It’s an underdog tale. It’s “The Lord of the Rings” with a touch of “The Hunger Games” and a bit of “Ender’s Game.” It’s a montage how the protagonists rise and find their way into Books 2 and 3. So, no matter how tempting it is, I can’t simply abandon Book 1, not with so many foundations needed for Book 3.

With Project Ashes being so disorganized, I had to set it aside and work on something fresh, something a little bit less dark. That’s how Project Sherlock was born. Right now it has a sturdy 10,000-wordcount. This is a story I hope to get done between writing Project Ashes’ Books 1 and 2. It’s going to be a massive book.

Then there’s the “Year of the Red Whale.” The second half of October to the entire November I was able to put 30,000 words into the story. There is a strong potential for expansion. I’m excited about it. But for any of those plans to reach the light of day, I need to finish this book soon. Here’s to a hopeful first quarter to 2017 into completing it.

Somewhere down this year a bunch of new cool stuff went into my head and has been brewing there for a long, long time. Older concepts are getting revisited and newer ones are being forged. I’m really excited to get into them.

For my writing in 2016, it was all about exploring ideas and hoping they would work. Now in 2017 it’s going to be about pushing through these ideas and make them work.

Uuuuugggghhh…

rocketannoyed

Rocket Racoon from Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy.”

Procrastination, is a dear, ugly friend of mine.

In the latter half of 2011 while everyone was applying the final touches to their theses, my partner and I were just getting started. We had everything we needed: journals, interviews, the so-so stuff, but we were just about to start writing it.

I don’t know what the hell had happened. I distinctly remember working on it but the end result wasn’t good. So, we had exactly 32 hours to finish it. We did. We nailed it. Over 300-pointless pages, out of a 50-page maximum requirement. Our thesis professor was pissed. I was pissed, I wasn’t happy with how we did it, I felt our output was sewage. Students doing research on similar topics all over the country will be reading this. It’s an embarrassment. The dean loved it. Hell, I’ll take what I can get. In spite in how ugly it was, we still managed to blaze through the oral defense, leaving no loopholes, two of the three panelists were satisfied, the third needed a wee bit more convincing. Bottom line: We killed it, somehow, with utmost luck, and a lot of prayers, and sacrificial hamsters.

Oh, there are other scenarios where procrastination is barking at my heels. My NaNoWriMo entry, for one. As of this writing, November 18, 2016, I have on record in my NaNoWriMo profile, 3,492 words. Lovely. That means I have about 11-12 days to reach that 50,000-mark. I also realize that my book, “Year of the Red Whale” doesn’t need to be a 100-120,000-word monster. Based from where I am now, this book needs no more than about 50,000 words. I don’t think I can have that. This will mean adding more scenes into the story, adding characters, and tossing in side stories to fill in the gap. I’m aiming for 80,000, at the very least, without looking like a stretch. It’s even more challenging to meet that requirement when I have only one point-of-view character.

I think the best part of procrastination is having that sense of urgency that you need you finish something before time’s up. It’s like being in a MacGyver situation where you have 10-seconds to live and start getting creative to get out of that butt hole you’ve dug yourself in with a few mental bumps and bruises. It’s actually fun, sometimes, if not outright frustrating.

So, there we have it. My fond update of this month’s contest. All things considered, hopefully these next few days will help me get to the road to 50,000.

Year of the Red Whale: NaNoWriMo

Oh snap! I just did it. I just did this thing in NaNoWriMo where I announced Project Crown! Looks like I really will be participating this year.

As of this writing, Project Crown has over than 10K words. NaNoWriMo asks writers to start writing on the first of November. I’m not in the mood to stop writing and work on yet another project (Project Hunter, most likely).

Project Crown is on the roll and I see it being completed soon. Even though that’s still about 90-110K words to go. What I’m going to do, is write as much as I can until the official start of NaNoWriMo, after which, I’ll jump to the book’s next segment, or rather, the next “Part.”

NaNoWriMo challenges writers to write 50K words between November 1 to 30. If I do that, that’s 50K new words into my novel. To participate in the spirit of the event, I won’t include any words written before November 1.

I’ve announced Project Crown in NaNoWriMo as “Year of the Red Whale.” And that is its final title. It’s a fantasy story set in the Industrialization era. A time when most of the world has been discovered, explored, and colonized. It is a time for modern medicine as new diseases are born from the empire’s strands.

It is a revenge story and will involve all sorts of crazy stuff in it. I’m very excited in how much I was able to put in it without being senseless clutter. It all worked, somehow, at least for me. I’ll have to tally what the beta-readers will have to say.

Anyhow, I suppose I’ll talk more about the book some other day, when it is undergoing rewrites and polishing. While I understand a 100-120K-word novel is no easy feat to accomplish, I’m aiming to complete this story sometime in December. But who knows, I’ve said that before about Project Ashes.