Monthly Archives: August 2011

Short Story Submitted

Last night, I had my wife read through my first completed short story and review it. She found a few things, which I fixed. A couple of them would have been embarrassing to have left in, so I really owe her for finding them. Over all, she liked the story, so this morning, I reformatted it to match the submission guidelines of most of the science fiction magazines, and submitted it to one of them.

The average response time is five weeks, so it will most likely be some time before I heard anything one way or the other. I’m honestly not expecting to sell my story on my first try, but I’m happy with the story, and I do think I have at least some chance of getting it published somewhere. I submitted to my first choice, but there are plenty of other markets I can try if I don’t succeed here.

 

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Short Story

So in an earlier post, I mentioned I would probably write some short stories before I started on the second draft of my novel. Shortly after finishing the novel, I sat down and brainstormed half a dozen ideas for stories. I picked one, and started writing.

About 1,400 words in, I decided it wasn’t working. But that’s OK; I’d rather find out sooner than later. So I abandoned that story (for now at least) and started another one. This second one really spoke to me, and I wrote 7,000 words in the space of three days. Pretty good for part-time writing.

I’ll still need to revise it, but overall, I’m pretty happy with it. I decided to write it in first person point of view, rather than third person, which is what I wrote my novel in. I mainly did it for a change, but I think I like writing like that. It gave the narrative a more lively feel, and let me expose the thoughts of the narrator more readily.

Anyway, at this point, I’ll probably take a break from all writing for a couple of days, then start revising this story. I think it has real potential, and assuming I can get something good out of if in the revision process, I will probably try submitting it for publication.

 

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First Draft Done!

Today I finished the first draft of my first novel. It came in at just under 63,000 words. That is a fair amount less than I had hoped for, but it’s a good start. I already know a few places I can expand on in the second draft, so I’m not overly disappointed.

Besides, I wrote a book! I’m very excited. This is the longest single thing I’ve ever written. When I started this back in June, I wasn’t sure if I would really be able to finish, but I was determined to give it my best shot.

So, what’s next? For now, I’m going to let it sit for at least a couple of weeks. I have a week off from work starting August 29th; I think I’ll probably use some of that time to start thinking about the second draft. I may or may not start on it—that may still feel too soon—but I’ll at least give it a read-through and make some notes.

Anyway, yay me!

 

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My Writing Process

I’ve always found it interesting to read about other authors’ writing processes, so I thought I would document mine (such as it is) here. Understand that since I’m working on my first book, this may change. However, it has worked for me so far.

First, I started with an outline. That was probably the best decision I made. I don’t know how I would have made it as far as I have without some kind of roadmap. It has made sitting down to write easy, because I already know what needs to happen in each chapter. My outline is pretty simple; just a list of chapters, and what happens in each chapter. I have changed it a few times as well, as I’ve discovered that something wasn’t working, or that I didn’t have enough happening in a chapter. But having a good solid outline before I started writing was essential. I can’t imaging writing a book without one.

Once I had the outline, I started on the book itself. To save me from having to switch between the outline and the main document all the time, I just pasted the outline into a new document, then made each chapter description start on a new page. That way, I could just scroll up a bit to see what I needed to write for that chapter. Because of this, my original outline document is now out of date. Any outline changes I made were just done right in the main document. I think this worked out well; trying to keep both in sync would have been extra work that wouldn’t have gained me anything. Once I’m done with the first draft, I will probably move the chapter descriptions back to the outline document, and make sure they are up to date with what I’ve actually written.

I’m still a full time software developer, so I don’t get to write all day every day. Instead, I find time wherever I can. That means before or after work, lunch time, and weekends. I don’t always work at the same computer, so I set up Dropbox on all the computers I might work on. That way, no matter where I sit down to write, I have the latest copy of my document ready and waiting for me. It has worked out really well, plus it gives me even more backups of my file in case something goes wrong.

I haven’t reached this point yet, but my plan for once I’ve finished the first draft is to let it sit for a few weeks before starting the second draft. I’m still considering how I might approach the second draft. I’ll write another post once I get that far.

 

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Writing a Book

When I originally started this blog, it was because I thought I might be getting into iOs app development. However, I have just not had the time to devote to that that I wanted to. Since I still have the domain registered, and the blog all set up, I decided I might as well use it for something productive.

I’ve always thought about writing books and short stories, but until recently, have never pursued it. That changed a few weeks ago, when I had an idea for a science fiction novel. I made an outline, mainly to see if I could. I was pretty happy with the outline, so I started actually writing the book. Now, several weeks later, I’m closing in on the end of the story. I have about 55,000 words written so far, with a few chapters left. I plan on fleshing out the story a bit more, to get the word count up around 80,000 words if possible.

So what am I going to do with this book once I’m finished? I’m not sure. I may try to get it published with a traditional print publisher, or, more likely, publish it myself. My wife has published her first book using Amazon’s CreateSpace, and on Kindle and Nook, so I do have some experience with that (I helped her with the Kindle and Nook formatting).

Before any of that, thought, the book will require at least a couple more passes. I know the early parts need lots of work; my writing definitely improved as I wrote more. I’ll probably take some time between drafts, just to let it simmer a bit before jumping back in. During the break, I think I will try some short stories.

Of course, all of this has to be a sideline to my day job and family responsibilities, so progress will be slower than I would like. My goal is to have a first draft done by mid-August, and the final draft no later than the end of the year. If all goes well, though, I could have something well before then. We’ll just have to wait and see.

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