Monday, 29 January 2018

Writing Log 2018-01-26


Hardcover copies of Bad Dog have arrived, taking my print ambitions to the next level. More importantly, I've now sent copies out to my Beta readers.

This week I've been working on my next short story in The World of Drei series. The first, Mission One, which evolved into  novelette, when I reached 9,706 words, has come back from my first reader. She likes it. So, I've sent it to one of my Beta readers for his comments.

For those who don't know, the definition of a short story is less than 7,500 words. A novelette is more than 7,500 but less than 17,500 words. A novella is more than 17,500 and less than 40,000.

An aside on my creative process...

Originally, when I first thought of this project I called it Territory. My idea was to do a homage to Keith Laumer's Bolo stories. But with a modern take, to address developments in our understanding of what artificial intelligence is.

Then I got stuck. Like one does.

I renamed Territory, and called it Terror Tree. But I was still stuck with what to do with the project.

As a novel I was struggling how to tell a story totally from the perspective of an evolving artificial intelligence. I was setting myself up to do the definitive work. That's a burden no author needs to carry, because it just setting yourself up to be in critical mode, rather than allowing the creative part of one's mind work.

Heck, over the last couple of years I've also been stuck because my day job was a tad demanding of me. It left me emotionally drained. Which is not a good place to write from either.

So to free myself, I chose to write a short story in The World of Drei series. After all, Terror Tree is a short story. One editor very nicely rejected it on account of it only being 1,419 words, calling it flash-fiction, which wasn't what they wanted.

At a stretch Terror Tree could even be considered poetry, of sorts. Well, it has a bit of poetry within the story. That counts, right?

Anyway, I've been writing the next story, Regroup, which is currently running at 8,506 words. So yes, still not a short story. What can I say? It's all very Russian; vodka and depression, with giant cybertanks, which is fun to write.

And fun is the key to being creative.

So this weeks summary. I wrote 7,191 new words, averaging 359 words per hour. I managed to spend 20 hours actually writing, rather than doing other stuff. Part of my publishing plans is to keep track of my writing time, drilling down into how I spend my day, to try and up my word count. Identifying what I'm doing with my time.

What's happening is that I'm wasting time by becoming distracted. Though some of the wasted time is actually research.

For example, I've been immersing myself in Russian culture; the songs, myths, and orthodox Russian church practices. Most of this won't be in the stories, it just provides me hooks and character perks to generate a setting that feels Russian. So its not all vodka and depression.

But the important bit is, that I've been enjoying my writing.

Projects in Progress
The World of Drei – Full on Russian stoicism in the face of adversity
Strike Dog – Fact checking, moving forward, but still a work in progress
Ghost Dog – On hold, as Strike Dog is still a work in progress
The Bureau – Still on hold
Two Moons – Sidequel story, still noodling
Dead Dogs – First in a new trilogy, still noodling

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