When the cat’s at home the mice bust their asses

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This week my wife’s workplace is shut down for their annual week of cleaning, which means that she can take kid patrol duties from me. A whole week.

I haven’t been around much lately but this means I’ll be on the internet even less as I try to get work done. My list

Finish and send short story
Finish KS video
Get KS up and running
Finish Lightning Source Registration
[Thing]
Send emails
Start revising The Great Way

Not in order of importance, obviously.

I expect this will keep my hopping while she’s gone and while she’s here, too. Hope you guys are doing well.

First draft of The Great Way finished

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Yesterday, Saturday, I put in a 4,334 word day to wrap up the rough draft of my epic fantasy trilogy, The Great Way. I’ve even come up with a third title for the individual volumes:

The Way Into Chaos
The Way Into Magic
The Way Into Darkness.

If I were smart, I’d switch the last two around so the series order would be alphabetical order, too. We’ll see how smart I am.

Anyway, I had several long days in a row to reach the end, and I think it’s a bit odd for the end of an epic fantasy. I think it works for the overall story, but I’m used to seeing a clash of armies at the end of a fantasy trilogy and in this story there are no armies left.

But that’s me, immediately thinking of all the ways something is wrong. I think they’re good books, and they’ll be much better when I get a revision done.

The Kickstarter to pay for art, editing, and design will be coming soon. Maybe as soon as a couple of weeks. I just have to work out a few questions regarding time and money budgets and do the video.

Holy shit. Kickstarter. This is a scary new world for me.

My last Clarion West writeathon post

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It’s my last because I’m done. I wanted to add 40,000 words to my epic fantasy to reach 180,000, which I’d hoped would be the end. I’ve done that. If you pledged, thank you very much. If you haven’t, you still can here. Clarion West. It’s a good thing.

Unfortunately, I wanted to have this book wrapped up by now and I haven’t. That sucks. I have to say that, as the first fantasy writer to ever write long on an epic fantasy, my embarrassment is pretty huge.

Also huge is my desire to be done with this story and on to the next. I did 1600 words today and hope to double that tomorrow and Saturday. There’s a Kickstarter coming, and ebooks, and POD, and so on. Then it’ll be something new.

This week sucks

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It was just Monday that I blogged about how grateful I am that folks are supporting me in the Clarion West writeathon and that I was taking those pledges seriously and hoping to get a lot done.

Then, later that day, I broke a tooth in a big way.

Tuesday, I discovered that I could not get in with my dentist that day.

Wednesday, I learned that I will probably need a root canal that I can’t afford.

Today, my wife found out that a very old friend of hers passed away. She’s processing it as best she can and I’m trying to stay close in case she needs support.

Guys, this week sucks. As soon as we can put this one in our rear-view mirror, lets.

On top of that, I realized too late that progress on the book had grown sluggish because my subconscious was telling me that I’d made a structural mistake. The book felt flat and I couldn’t keep pushing through it any more. This realization felt almost Strossian.

So, it’s late in the day but I’m going to go back and redo those pages in the proper way, and hopefully they will help to build the climax the way it’s meant to be done.

Week’s not over! It’s possible that tomorrow will be non-shitty. Let’s hope so.

Clarion West Writeathon total… so far

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I want to thank everyone who has pledged in my name to benefit the famous Clarion West workshop. The six-week workshop is only in its second week, and already folks have donated $340.

I’m taking my part of this seriously, too, working to finish the promised pages by the end of the six-week period.

Each week I get a short email from the Clarion West folks letting me know where things stand, and each week the pledge total has been higher than before. If no one pledged another penny after this point, I would be grateful and flattered.

Thanks very much. The Great Way will be finished soon. That’s my pledge.

The Clarion West Write-a-thon

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Yes, it’s the solstice, and yes, I’ve signed up for the Clarion West Write-a-thon.

That link above will take you directly to my pledge page, but if you want more information, here goes.

Clarion West is a famous writing workshop in Seattle.

For nearly 30 years, Clarion West has been run for six weeks during the summer. As you might guess, it spun off from an older workshop with the same format in Michigan (I think) called simply “Clarion”. It’s taught by five writers and one editor, each trading off for a week, and writers come from all over to attend. They quit jobs, end relationships, lose apartments, and generally uproot their lives to spend a month and a half sequestered away from the world working on their fiction.

I’m not a graduate. I applied once in the 90’s but was turned down. However, the list of graduates is sure to include authors you love.

Clarion West has a reading series.

This is how I know the workshop. As part of the fundraising efforts, the workshop runs a reading series. It was the first place I ever heard a writer read, way back in the early 90’s (back when they held them in the basement of Elliott Bay Books), and it helped me find some terrific writers.

This year’s instructors are: Elizabeth Hand, Neil Gaiman, Joe Hill, Margo Lanagan, Samuel R. Delany, and Ellen Datlow. Too bad I have a kid or I would definitely be busing across town for these.

Clarion West still needs support.

Times are tough for everyone, including non-profits. To help raise money, CW is holding a “Write-a-thon” in which people pledge to walk a certain distance write a certain amount of words while the workshop runs.

Me, I’m hoping to wrap up the first draft of THE GREAT WAY in that time, so any pledges in my name will be considered serious and for real motivation.

Hey, it’s a good organization and a good cause. If you can bear to make a pledge, please do. #SFWApro

Five (Publishing) Things Make a (Publishing) Post

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I’m a few hours from sending my much-revised book off to my agent. I’m writing this Thursday night but scheduling it for Friday morning. By the time this posts, I’ll already be sitting in a Starbucks, hunched over my laptop, taking contractions out of the dialog of two characters who appear spread out over 148K words. Fun! Okay, actually, I’m filled with misery over this, but this is the job and it isn’t always fun.

So: N things make a post.

1) Kameron Hurley takes up the subject of survivorship bias and the marketing of books. I really liked this post, long as it is, because marketing is something I know squat about and she covers a lot of useful ground for a noob like me. Also: pulp covers not as attractive to readers, apparently. Give that a read.

2) C.E. Murphy hosts a guest blog post by Judith Tarr on how publishing used to work and how everything now is so much better. Yes, there was more money when she started, but now authors no longer have to worry about vanishing if their publisher drops them. You can read the whole thing in one post here, or in part one, two, and three.

Why link to the same material four times? In this case, the comments. They’re worth reading. For example.

Anyway, it’s a concise summary of where we are now contrasted with a description of where publishing was back in the day from someone who was there. I’m a little annoyed at the “Mommy and Daddy” stuff, but people have to make their point.

3) Hugo-winner Lawrence Watt-Evans responds by talking about his plans for his upcoming books and how he intends to keep putting his work on the market. He was an early adopter of the model of posting a book a chapter at a time as donations came in from his readers.

4) Speaking of where we are now, Heather Shaw and Tim Pratt are trying to revive their zine FLYTRAP, and how are they doing it? Crowdfunding, of course. This is the way the future will work, guys. Check it out.

5) R.I.P. Jack Vance. I think I’m one of the people who’s more familiar with the work his books inspired than the original stuff.

Getting shit done and going offline.

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So, this is a little embarrassing and I just have to come out and talk about it.

I haven’t released a new book in a long time.

Duh, right? It’s not like you guys don’t know this. My last novel was CIRCLE OF ENEMIES, which came out Labor Day 2011. What’s more, I’ve already mentioned that I finished the first draft of CoE in 2010, before GAME OF CAGES came out.

So what the hell have I been doing?

Well, the first thing I did is write A KEY, AND EGG, AN UNFORTUNATE REMARK, which I had high hopes for but screwed up badly. I could probably whip it into shape in a month or so once I figure out how to manage the voice, but it’s back-burnered.

There’s also the Spirit of the Century novel I wrote for the game company Evil Hat. Kickstarter backers have already received their copies, but everyone else has to wait for this fall.

And there’s some short fiction, which I plan to collect and release as an ebook next month.

So what the hell? Where are the books?

Here’s the thing: When I started THE WAY INTO CHAOS (originally titled A BLESSING OF MONSTERS–you can decide which title you hate more) I’d planned to wrap up the whole story in 120K words. One volume.

That hasn’t happened. I’m at 270K right now and the end is in sight. However, I’ve stopped forward progress and gone back to the beginning for a major revision. It’s taking up a lot of my time and driving me a little nuts.

The whole thing is taking too long. I need to finish this and move on to another project; it hasn’t even sold and I’m sick to death of it. Also, it can take a year or more from the time my agent sells something to the time it’s released. Do I want my next novel to hit the shelves in 2015? 2016?

That’s too long.

So, in order to get more done and focus in on this project, I’m going on an internet fast. It’ll be at least this whole week, possibly longer. I will check my email once a day, but that’s it: no Facebook mentions, no Twitter replies, no LJ comments, nothing.

In the meantime, I will be doubling down on this book. I won’t finish in that time, but I plan to double my progress, at least.

I’ll also have some time to do some much needed chores.

In truth, I really enjoy social media but I feel over-committed at the moment. It’s become a bit of an obligation, so I’m shedding everything for w bit. When I come back I’ll take stock and see what I’ll need to change.

Funnily enough, just as I decided to do this, a guy hit the internet with his big “I just took a year away from the internet, and it didn’t solve all my problems” article. I understood the dude’s urge to change his routine, but is it really any surprise that his problems were internal rather than external?

Anyway, I’m not trying to fix my life here. I’m just freeing up time to work. There will be a couple of blog posts that will go live while I’m away, but you know.

Wish me luck.

Good News! Joss Whedon said he’s ready to Kickstart a new DOLLHOUSE movie!

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No really, that’s what he said! Good thing he was joking.

If you’re one of those people who have been going around the internet posting comments, tweets, and status updates like “Who’s this Veronica Mars? Kickstart me some more SERENITY!” you should probably click that link up there. He’s not planning to Kickstart a new Serenity movie because he’s tied up for the next several years with commitments, not to mention the commitments the actors have. Plus yada yada budget etc. Give it a quick read.

After that, you should read this post by LEVERAGE co-creator John Rogers, cleverly titled Veronica Mars Kickstarter Thoughts. If you want analysis from someone who is inside the TV business, Rogers is the guy to turn to right now. Until it was cancelled, Leverage was the only independently-owned TV show in the U.S. market, and he has a lot of insight about the nature of non-studio funding, whether Warner is taking a risk by giving the go-ahead, and much more. That’s worth reading.

Remember yesterday when I talked about ALL THE SHIRTS (limited-edition!) the VM people would have to deal with? Kickstarter fulfillment companies.

And, naturally, everyone is jumping up to say what shows should be next on the Kickstarter auction block: Chuck. Pushing Up Daisies. Sarah Connor Chronicles. Terriers. Deadwood.

Personally, none of those shows appealed to me in a serious way, so I’ll be waiting for that THUNDARR reboot.

Okay. Unless something very interesting happens, I’m going to lay off the TV Kickstarter posts for a while. I’ve got to steal time for my books at some point, right?

Currently I’m over 100K words on THE WAY INTO MAGIC, which is the sequel to THE WAY INTO CHAOS. I’m writing it as one long story, which is probably dumb, but there you go.

My life is incredibly dull! Good thing the internet is full of fun stuff.