Yeah, I’m a couple days late with the title of this blog, but it’s still accurate. I mean it’s still the new year. I have been away from my computer for days now, and it felt like I was missing a limb. I know, not the most flattering image in the world, but since my computer is my primary source of writing, it did not bode well for me to have it be so far away for so long. I didn’t even miss the internet, I just missed my Scrivener app. I know it’s sort of pathetic, but typing on a keyboard has always been my medium for writing. I remember in fourth grade my English teacher told my parents that my handwriting was so poor I should start typing out my homework. Though it was a little harsh, I credit this decision in helping me transition to typing much faster than my other classmates.
Anyway, I think that’s enough pathetic pining for my computer. I am obviously back and excited to get started on those new years resolutions.
First off, I have decided to start 2018 off by editing The Absolute. I had a couple people comment and personal message me after my last blog post to tell me they preferred the storyline of that piece, and that was enough to help me make my decision. I just hope my editing ability is good enough to live up to that little blurb about the book, because I must admit, my short paragraph description of it is much better than the actual words on the page.
At the moment, half the book is still about my protagonist’s obsession with killing God (yeah, that’s getting edited out ASAP) and part of the book still has him written as a writer instead of a painter because I preferred the story of him returning to his town as a commissioned painter rather than a ghostwriter, and I really did not want to write a book about an author.
I mean way too many insecurities would pop up if I did that, and I would start freaking out that the few readers I have would think my main character was partially based on me.
That’s just the video I think of when I think of insecurity and self-acceptance, feel free to ignore it.
Anyway, I hope to finish a second draft of The Absolute by the end of January, send it off to beta readers by February, and hopefully finish the final draft to later than the end of March.
Not only have I re-distributed Lost in the Clouds with Kindle Select, making it free for anyone with Kindle Unlimited, I have also placed it on sale for the first five days of the New Year. You can purchase a copy of Lost in the Clouds from Amazon for only $0.99 until the end of the week.
subscribers to my newsletter also have an exclusive chance to win a free audible copy of Lost in the Clouds.
So long 2017! It’s been something. Well, on top of entering my final year of grad school, 2017 proved to be more of a year for writing, rather than editing. I am more than happy to have had one book release this year but 2018 is looking like it will be more of a year of output. In otherwords, visible results rather than the rough draft inputs I’m used to doing.
Today, December 28th, I completed my final rough draft of 2017. At 84k words this marks my fourth full-length manuscript of the year, none of which I have actually edited. I can’t help it, even now I am looking at my computer thinking about a couple of ideas I have for novels I wouldn’t mind starting, but discipline in writing and writing goals, is what got me to the point where I have more than two handfuls of rough drafts on my computer.
Since I began this writing journey in 2014, I have practiced and developed my own writing style, and I must admit it has been a blast to watch myself develop as a writer and experiment with different approaches.
However, I know I have reached my peak unless I am willing to now practice a new form of author discipline. That of actually completing the novel. While having close to a million words of unedited manuscripts on my computer is a personal accomplishment, it is not one that brings measurable success. No one is rewarded for the potential of their work, and no one develops a fan base by simply typing up new manuscripts that never leaves the vault.
That is why 2018 will be the year of editing. I have four manuscripts lined up and plan on dedicating 2 months on each (with some leeway of course. Part of the reason I’ve left four months open).
Currently, I am trying to decide which manuscript I want to start 2018 with. I have narrowed it down to two.
- The Absolute, which is a story about a painter who lost faith in God and returns to his hometown when he is commissioned to paint the new chapel. There he finds faith does not have to come in the form of one belief, but rather finding a purpose to live for.
- The Pathetic Tycoon, which is an action based book dealing with themes of legacy and self-worth. The main plot is a rescue of the protagonist’s little brother from the hands of the most respected criminal in the city. The secondary plot is about the rivalry between the criminal’s lifelong attempt to legitimize his business, and the protagonist’s best friend, who inherited his parents’ empire upon their premature passing.
The longest edit will probably be the 130k word satire I wrote over the summer about a future world where all labor is completely automated and the only place for humans to exist is in celebrity and innovation (since machines can’t create anything new on their own). The fourth book will either be the one I just finished writing today or Something About Maude which has been on my (To Be Edited) list forever!
It’s kinda funny how all the hard work really begins once you finish the rough draft, but it’s also when you see the most results. I always joke that writing is more satisfying than editing because you get that instant gratification of word count goals and seeing something come from a blank page. But editing brings the long-term satisfaction. The sort of results that could last a lifetime if you’re lucky. All that work I put into writing in 2017 will make all the opportunities I find in 2018 possible.
“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
Okay, so truth be told I am pretty mediocre at keeping my new year’s resolutions. Maybe not mediocre. . . more like amazing with the small stuff and unreliable with the rest. I did manage to dedicate more time this year than 2016 to writing, unfortunately, editing had to take a back seat. Though I managed to write 4 (well finishing the 4th) first drafts for different manuscripts this year, the only thing I was able to polish to any degree was a 40k novella released in August.
If 2017 was the year of writing, 2018 will be the year of re-writing. I’m saying it here so I don’t have the opportunity to forget, or at least not the same opportunity to forget since this blog did not exist a year ago.
Once I finish the current WIP I am working on, my primary focus will be to re-writing three of the four drafts I popped out this year. My mammoth, a futuristic satire in a world where automation has replaced everything but celebrity, and the currency is influence (or reach), will take me the longest. I plan on taking the sort of time NFL teams are supposed to take in developing rookie quarterbacks because of all the stories I’ve produced recently, it’s the one I am most proud of. It may take a long time to shine, but I know there’s something great in it.
As for the other books, one is in need of MAJOR re-writes as I changed the occupation of the main character, and the conclusion (which of course means everything leading to the conclusion needs to change). This one being the Absolute, which is about a painter’s strange relationship with God. The main plot follows his time painting a mural for the new chapel in his hometown.
The third book I plan to get to has a working title of The Pathetic Tycoon and it’s a rather violent tale between an old-time criminal and a young rival with a legitimate business he inherited from his parents.
It should be a fun year. . . well a stressful as re-writing tends to be. What I don’t like about re-writing is you don’t get the same satisfaction of goals like you do on a rough draft. I mean knocking out a word count goal offers instant gratification. Re-writing is much more macro, and you don’t really see the results until you reach the end. At least for me, rough drafts are more about “wow look what I’ve done,” while re-writes are more about “wow look how much I have left.”
I know it’s a lot of hard work, but as Stephen King put it “Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.”