WIP: Changes Going Forward

Friday

I had my regular marketing meeting today, and it was productive as always. I talked out the changes I have in mind for this website, and it all seems like a good idea. Over the weekend I plan to evaluate the options and perhaps to take the first steps to set up the infrastructure here. I don’t plan to try to do everything all at once, but I want to have the right pieces in place so that I can grow my website with my writing business.

Angel of Death

 [Cover of Angel of Death: A Victor Storm Novel by T.F. Torrey] Goodbye Spring Rains, hello Angel of Death.

I continued to consider how changing the book from Spring Rains to Angel of Death might impact the existing and planned work, and the only negative I can see is losing the plan of the four-season set. Which wasn’t working anyway.

I’m doing it.

It will take me a few hours over a few iterations to finish rearranging the pieces of Spring Rains into Angel of Death, then a few more hours to finish writing the new scenes that it will need and rewriting the parts that have to be changed, but that’s not much. I’m hoping it can be done this weekend.

Daily Results

  • New fiction words: ?
  • Scenes completed: ?
  • Chapters completed: ?
  • Covers completed: 0
  • New weblog words: 675

Dude! Sweet!

WIP: Business and Spring Rains Reimagined

Thursday

Wow. The business part of my writing business got pretty shaken today. What started as a reasonably simple idea to host my own reviews has really caused me to reconsider my business and website. I’ve realized that many of the assumptions I’ve been using to decide what to do are no longer valid. Times, places, and situations have changed. Things that weren’t reasonable before are good ideas now. I think large changes are afoot, but I still have some deciding and talking to do.

And WOW! The writing part of my writing business got pretty shaken today as well, and in the end, Spring Rains may no longer be a thing.

Here’s how I got there.

Many years ago I wrote a serial called Crusader. One year, as part of a contest, I decided to write the origin story of the protagonist of that series, Victor Storm. That story became the novella Winter Kills. Then, I had the idea that Victor’s origin might span a whole year, four seasons, with books called Spring Rains, Summer Storms, and Autumn Cries to complete the set.

So, after many fits and starts, I got going on Spring Rains. As I went along, several problems began to emerge. For one, the book was big, as in, looking at 100,000 words big. It didn’t really seem to fit alongside Winter Kills, which is 25,000 words soaking wet. For another, the book had lots of main events, and to fit them all in, each was handled rather minimally. Another problem was that a few of the subplots only surfaced every few tens of thousands of words. Would anyone remember what they were about? Or care? With the size and scope of Spring Rains, I was afraid it might be about nothing. And there was still more I wanted to put in it. Is it any wonder that writing it was a struggle?

Over the past few days, I had some ideas for other books featuring Victor Storm. The new ideas had narrow scopes or action and thought, with the same fun recurring characters in the same settings. These seemed like fun books. Even better, they seemed like the kind of books I could write in a couple weeks. But they, too, are imagined to be only in the 50-60,000-word range. They’d look like they belonged alongside Winter Kills, but not Spring Rains.

Today I realized that if I separated out Victor Storm’s “victims” into separate stories, the first part of Spring Rains might be exactly the kind of fun, engaging story I wanted to write. It could work. The only problem would be: it would no longer be the story of Victor’s springtime. After many years of planning now, I’d be giving up not just the Spring Rains title, but the entire idea of my four-book, season-themed series.

That’s a big change.

But it seemed like a good idea.

The kind of exciting idea I can’t help but do.

Late at night, I made a copy of my files and tested out the changes. It works really well. I like it a lot. I love the energy and the flow. I love how the subplots are more important. I love how it is easy once again to say what the story is about and to be excited about it. I love how it will fit well with Winter Kills, and I love how easy it will be to write more great books about Victor Storm.

I haven’t decided yet, but this is probably going to happen, and soon.

My working title for the new book is Angel of Death, which is rather obvious once you know the story. The image on the Spring Rains cover isn’t from the first part of the book, so that needs to change, too. And I already did it.

Best of all, this change makes the book almost completely done. Some new scenes need to be written, some times need to be reworked, and some transitions need to be redone, but the changes mean the book can be out in hours rather than tens of hours. As in, this weekend.

What a great day.

Daily Results

  • New fiction words: ?
  • Scenes completed: ?
  • Chapters completed: ?
  • Covers completed: 1
  • New weblog words: 675

Everything is awesome!

WIP: Rolling Again

Tuesday

I did not get started with my early schedule today, but I did have a good day nonetheless. No tours, daughter with grandma, just writing (and planning).

Spring Rains

 [Cover of Spring Rains: A Victor Storm Novel by T.F. Torrey] I completed a tough patch and finally got into unwritten territory, which goes faster. I still wasn’t up to the speed I like, but it is a vast improvement over what it has been, and I feel good about continuing tomorrow.

I wanted to get more done in the evening, but I ran out of steam.

Daily Results

  • New fiction words: 1800
  • Scenes completed: 2
  • Chapters completed: 0
  • Covers completed: 0
  • New weblog words: 100

Getting warmer.

WIP: But Not Today

Monday

I should get up bird-early and do my work. That is a habit I would like to start this week.

Instead, today, my morning and early afternoon were occupied with a tour of a great school that will almost certainly be where Elizabeth has her Kindergarten through Sixth Grade experience, and my afternoon and evening were occupied with domestic tasks that could not be put off.

Spring Rains

 [Cover of Spring Rains: A Victor Storm Novel by T.F. Torrey] Late in the evening, when I finally did get to Spring Rains, I found the work oddly familiar. That happens sometimes when I’m going over places where text has been written and deleted or moved, so it wasn’t alarming at first, but then I was pretty sure I remembered finishing things that showed as unfinished.

Checking into it, I realized to my horror that my synchronization software had replaced the current version of my Spring Rains file with an older version. For a few minutes, I was filled with dread, but I found that it has merely renamed my current version to something else. Unfortunately, it had done this for lots of files, and for several of them, including Spring Rains, I had unwittingly added new content to old version. Oops. It’s better than losing content, but it’s a clunky mess to straighten out.

I got enough fixed to work on Spring Rains, and I pushed forward a little, but didn’t get very far before I ran out of energy and had to call it a night.

Daily Results

  • New fiction words: 300
  • Scenes completed: 0
  • Chapters completed: 0
  • Covers completed: 0
  • New weblog words: 275

I think I will make early rising a priority.

WIP: Almost Through The Mess, I Hope

Friday

During the day I was better at getting work done. Not much, but every little bit helps. In the afternoon we had an early dinner, then went to the Children’s Museum of Phoenix, which is actually just an elaborate indoor playground, but Elizabeth loves it. In the evening we went to a storytelling event that Ceyshe hosted, then we walked briefly down Roosevelt Street to see a little of First Friday. And that was that.

Spring Rains

 [Cover of Spring Rains: A Victor Storm Novel by T.F. Torrey] Again today I slogged through pieces that were previously written. This has never been a problem before, and I am trying to figure out why it is this time so I can avoid doing it again. Much of my work today was taking out big pieces that no longer fit what the story has become. On the bright side, I am mostly through the previous work. I think I will fly through the rest, and I know I can, but this experience has gotten me a little worried.

Daily Results

  • New fiction words: 350
  • Scenes completed: 0
  • Chapters completed: 0
  • Covers completed: 0
  • New weblog words: 175

Onward.

WIP: Progress To Music

Thursday

Though I spent the day with daughter as usual, I actually managed to get some work done. In the afternoon, we went to my weekly marketing meeting, which was productive as always, and I was able to get some good work done on the train on the way over. In the evening I was exhausted, but I went to bed early and woke up at midnight to get some more work done.

Spring Rains

 [Cover of Spring Rains: A Victor Storm Novel by T.F. Torrey] I will be so happy when this book is done. At every step I’m having to do the slow, cumbersome work of resolving the differences between when I wrote the first snippets of the scene and the thing the book has turned into. Also, some days I am plagued by the feeling that the book is cheesy, obvious, and bad. Today was one of those days.

Sonic Pi

A few weeks ago, I saw a post on BoingBoing about a musician who had worked with The Velvet Underground creating something called “minimal drone” music, a style was not familiar with. When I looked into it, I found it was kind of a simplified form of electronic techno music, not extremely dissimilar to the “lounge” and “house” and “night whatever” music that I like, particularly for working to. That led to me finding and enjoying minimal techno music on YouTube.

A few days ago, I remembered the Sonic Pi software on the Raspberry Pi I got for my daughter, and I thought it might be good for creating minimal techno music. It turns out that it is. It’s reasonably easy and very cool. Now I’m using it as a source for mood music for writing, and I’m thinking of creating my own tracks with moods that match the structure and flow of my books. It isn’t as much work as it sounds like, but it probably is as much of a distraction as it sounds like.

Anyway, it’s a great program with lots of musical possibilities. If any of that interests you, you should check it out.

Daily Results

  • New fiction words: 550
  • Scenes completed: 0
  • Chapters completed: 0
  • Covers completed: 0
  • New weblog words: 375

Getting there.

WIP: Daddy Day Care

Wednesday

Unless and until I get a system figured out for being productive with my daughter here, I should maybe change the name of this series of posts to “Child Care in Public”. Today I helped make a “movie” viewing device by cutting slots in the sides of a box and taping paper scenes together in a loop. I read stories and made them funny. I did three meals and a bath. In the background, I also watched several hours of news and YouTube videos. But something else was neglected. I wonder what it was ….

Spring Rains

 [Cover of Spring Rains: A Victor Storm Novel by T.F. Torrey] As usual, late in the evening, I worked on Spring Rains. I finished two scenes and the challenging chapter, with notes to go over them later to make sure they really make sense. This chapter has again illustrated the dangers of writing bits all over and the benefits of writing straight through in one pass.

Challenges

I will get things under control. When I do, I’m thinking of framing my work as a series of challenges. The idea is to keep the work thematically interesting across projects, to allow for a variety of projects, and to connect daily, weekly, and quarterly production to business goals.

I haven’t sorted out the framework yet, but I will get it sorted out and adopt it soon. One thing I need to do is to account for failure. If you always meet your goals, they aren’t really challenges. I tend to set very challenging goals, and to miss more than I meet. It’s important to set up a structure where a series of individual failures still add up to success.

I’ll figure it out, then add it to my sidebar.

Daily Results

  • New fiction words: 350
  • Scenes completed: 2
  • Chapters completed: 1
  • Covers completed: 0
  • New weblog words: 325

In the history of the world, there has never been a better time to be a writer. And it will be even better tomorrow.

WIP: Oops, There Goes One

Tuesday

It was another day spent with just my daughter. I sure do love her, but this isn’t a very productive arrangement. I need to get better at it, maybe getting up earlier and focusing more intensely when I can, because this situation will probably not be changing for 13 weeks. And I really do need to be able to be productive even under less than ideal circumstances, because they almost never are. I have a feeling this is turning around.

Spring Rains

 [Cover of Spring Rains: A Victor Storm Novel by T.F. Torrey] Again late in the evening I worked on Spring Rains. I got through a challenging chapter, and though I wasn’t ready to call it done yet, I think it’s working. One interesting problem I’m having this time is that I’m trying to be succinct, and not to ramble. For most people most of the time, the challenge is to write enough words to meet their requirements. For me more and more, the challenge is to pare down the words while still telling the full story. The experience of writing ficlets was good practice for this, and Long Way Home, my novelette told in ficlets, was nothing but this problem, so I think I’m equipped to handle it. It’s an interesting stage of my writing, though.

Although I felt like I got some good work done, I saw a video that said that lack of sleep impairs creativity. I think it behooves me to do this work when I feel most refreshed, even if that is early in the morning.

I’ll figure it out, and soon.

Deadline missed

It’s a good thing I didn’t set up the Amazon preorder for Spring Rains for today like I wanted (or maybe it isn’t), because I didn’t make it. Nevertheless, all the things that got in the way are out of the way now, and I can work around the clock (kind of) in overdrive (kind of) to get not only this book done, but the next and the next. I’ll post an updated schedule when I come up with it.

Daily Results

  • New fiction words: 750
  • Chapters completed: 0
  • Covers completed: 0
  • New weblog words: 275

I feel good.

WIP: Assembly Monday

Monday

My little girl needed a proper bed and dresser, so yesterday and today I stained and assembled a bed and dresser from Ikea. If you like spending hours and hours staining, sanding, and assembling, you would love building things from Ikea. I like it, but it sure chews up the time and energy. A bonus: I had the best little girl in the whole world to help me.

Spring Rains

 [Cover of Spring Rains: A Victor Storm Novel by T.F. Torrey] Late in the evening, I did get to Spring Rains. The changes I suggested yesterday are seeming like the right idea, and overall it feels like the project is turning a corner. But it also doesn’t look like it will be released tomorrow. I’m not happy about that.

One option that seems attractive is to push back the release dates to allow finishing the books without undue pressure. That option stinks. I have many cool books to write, and I want to plan to get them done, not plan to not finish them. I’d rather work around the clock. I think I can almost do that.

Daily Results

  • New fiction words: 750
  • Chapters completed: 0
  • Covers completed: 0
  • New weblog words: 200

Deadline missing in 3 … 2 ….

WIP: Busy Sunday

Sunday

I spent much of the day trying to get our cat to come out of hiding, eat some food, and acknowledge the litter box. Finally, very late in the evening, he seemed to warm up to the place. He did eat a little food, but he seems terrified of the litter box. I have to watch him to make sure he doesn’t pick out his own litter box.

Much of the rest of the day was spent assembling Ikea furniture for my daughter’s room. This is the second dresser we’ve gotten from Ikea. If you like assembling hardware, inserting screws, and hammering in nails, an Ikea dresser will give you hours and hours of pleasure. I don’t mind.

Spring Rains

 [Cover of Spring Rains: A Victor Storm Novel by T.F. Torrey] Very late in the evening I created a new master chronology for Victor Storm and modified some scenes in Spring Rains to test having his daughters be older and coming to live with him. I still have to evaluate how my other Victor Storm story ideas would be affected by this change, but it seems like it would work. The change also would address some other concerns I have about the Victor Storm stories, such as how much time he spends with no company other than the thoughts in his head.

So far, it’s a soft yes.

Daily Results

  • New fiction words: 200
  • Chapters completed: 0
  • Covers completed: 0
  • New weblog words: 250

I’m about to miss a deadline.