Progress – April 30, 2018

I can’t believe we are here at the end of the month. A third of the year is now done.

Hmm, that brings up an interesting question: why do we divide the year into quarters and not thirds? Maybe this hits me strangely now, because I just did my quarterly business meeting with myself over the weekend. I chided myself, as is best when you are having a meeting with yourself because people look at you strangely when you blur out random admonishments at them (Dude! Really? — seek what I mean), that my meeting was coming awfully late; I’d already lost the first month of the second quarter. I’m already starting off this quarter behind. But, considering that people are so naturally tuned to the number 3, why we don’t have 3 thirds with 4 months in it? As I sit here writing and wondering this, I must wonder if I should move to a setup like this. It would force me to think four to eight months ahead instead of three (or two as usually happens) to six (or five) ahead. You know, I might try that for the rest of this year and next year, just to see if that fits my internal nature better. (No, my dear accountant friends, my bookkeeper side is not having issues with that. I already work monthly and yearly, but quarterly only effects me for payroll reports. I am not bothered one bit by shifting my thinking this way.)

I finished the draft of Onesong. There’s still something nagging me about the last chapter, but I’m trusting the process that I already have something rolling around in my head and I just need it to spring forth. It will. It always does. I’m not forcing it right now. And, some of it may come with where I decide to split the story. It’s right about 140,000 words total after all the extra stuff is chopped off. I haven’t looked to see if some of that fluff really needs to stay in the story. I also have a list of things that I kept thinking needed to happen which I need to sift through and see if it’s really as important as I thought it was when I started the list. (which reminds me, I have another Anne Dillard quote that I found when I was researching my previous blog to make sure her words hadn’t been pulled out of context. It pertains to this list exactly. I must write that next blog.)

I also started putting together a cover for the first part of Onesong. The title needs work (I know – shock!). I’m not sure if I want to divide it into two or three parts — that was the point I was getting too when I got waylaid by the other thought above. Yes, that happens to me when I’m writing and that’s why I’ve started to make lists. I use to go with the Steven King theory of writing: if an idea came and it wasn’t written down and you couldn’t remember it later, then it wasn’t an idea worth working on. But, as you see above with my aside about the quote, I have learned that I really must write things down when they come. I don’t even trust myself to remember something one or two paragraphs later. If an idea strikes while I’m writing, I will often line down and spit out what has bubbled up in my head. I can always merge it in later. But if I keep writing, there is a good chance that idea will float back to the ether from whence it came and not allow me to reel it in again if I don’t. I always kick myself for that. It’s better to write it down and go back then lose the idea all together. I wonder if Steven King really meant his words (I’ve seen that he doesn’t heed a lot of his own advise to other writers) or changed his mind. I’ll probably never know.

I also was very unhappy with what I was finding for the energy thread that is to go on the cover of the 5th Sacred Knight story, but while I was out working in my yard one evening, I found a piece of wire. I coiled it into the shape I wanted, knowing what I’d been working with in the image so knowing approximately what I needed done, and took the pictures myself.

Speaking of taking the pictures myself (yes, this is a drop down line so I won’t forget), I looked through hundreds of pictures for the right person for the Onesong cover. Disappointment be me. I only found 2 pictures of teens with long black hair that might be appropriate. One was a little too young, but had the look of innocence I wanted. The other was older, too arrogant, and would fit for one of my other characters better. Oh well. The quest for girls was also not as successful as hoped. She had to look close enough to the guy to be his twin. I also had two options here and hope I picked the best one, though I think she looks a little too sophisticated. No one seemed to have that “knowing” look in their eyes, at least not for what I needed. I did have a suggestion for the cover, which helped greatly in at least giving me the start of a direction.

I also started thinking about cover ideas for Dragons of Wellsdeep. if you remember my post from last week, I was debating about what to continue writing once I’d finished Onesong. I’ve decided that needs to be the next book I focus on. Of course, once I got the book dislodged from corner where I’d left it, my brain started thinking about the cover. Off I went to look at pictures. I had to grab myself and yank myself back to the story, especially once I’d found the two images I liked with the character I had in mind. There’s  no point going further until I am ready to sit down and start playing now that I have an idea. Why leave myself in the abyss of the Internet when I need to writing the story? Sometimes you have to know when to pull yourself out of a time-suck. It’s a good skill to have. I practice it often.

Back to the wire. Okay, yes, ordinarily I would go back and add this to the prior paragraph for better flow, but I’m making an example. So, back to the wire. I was able to Photoshop the wire for what I needed. I still have work to do for the final, but at least I know what I need to do. I learned new skills too. I love learning new things. That’s probably my favorite part about putting covers together myself. They might not be perfect and I’m sure a graphic designer could do better, but I have fun (except for that initial moment where I go, “Oh crap! What am I doing? Why do I think I can do this? Shouldn’t I be writing? I don’t have an idea for this. You’re such a hack!” Yes, I have that critical voice inside me too, but it shuts up as I shove by it and toy around with things). We’ll see how the cover comes along.

Now, talking about things that aren’t very much fun, I have Mystery of the Stardust Monk completely ready to upload to distributors for both ebook and print. Completely ready. As I said, I don’t want to be unprepared when going to publish something again. So, everything is ready.

Guess what I can’t do.

Yep, you got it. I can’t even click the “Add new book” button on any of the distributors. I’ve tried. I log into my account, then I sit there staring at it.

This is such a dumb problem to have. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

There’s more, but it’s going to wait a moment. Let’s go look at this week’s numbers instead.

Fiction words written last week: 3,238 words – not a lot here, but I have been mostly editing and revising this week. I didn’t start working on Dragons of Wellsdeep until Sunday, and that’s what really pushed this up. I felt like I was dabbling with the end of Onesong, so it never felt like fresh writing. Now that I’m back to it, I imagine this count will be higher for the weeks to come.

Blogs/Newsletter articles/non-fiction written:  4,510 words – this is obviously where most of my fresh writing was going. This number is much higher than I’d like to see, but I suppose that to keep my brain from being desperate for the discovering writing I like to do, it focused it on writing the posts so I could be doing revising edits and patchwork on the fiction. A bit of give and take, I suppose.

Score a big #3 for my weekly word count streak.

Writing month to date total:  22,128 words

Writing year to date total: 117,905 words – at this point, I would say I’m on schedule to hit my word goal for the year. (crossing fingers)

Drawing/painting last week: I fought with trying to figure out how to resize Eggs at Play and get it set up for a print version. This is still a work in process. I also didn’t log my time for it.

Audio: I spent 4 hours editing audio.