Getting the work part done.

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With any project it comes to a point where the work part happens.

After the first draft, there’s the part you let it sit, or at least I do. It’s usually a few months, but can be longer.

The reason for letting it sit is so when you don’t constantly revise, restructure or rewrite all of the time. Doing that, at least in my opinion, causes more problems than it solves.

The first draft is where you find out your story, or if you’re an outliner, you put what you’ve outlined into the story.

Being as I’m a mostly pantser, which means I will have a beat sheet and know where those beats will be places, but as far as the story itself, I don’t really know where it will go.

This may cause some people reading this to freak out, those are the outliners.

For the pantsers, here’s some truth: I have no idea what will happen at the end of the book, or if I do, it’s usually discovered as I’m writing. This works for me as I write in various genres.

Thriller as it pertains to all of its classifications: Political, Military, Spy…and yes sometimes horror is thrown into this category for the sake of selling books. Take a look at Silence of the Lambs, at it’s core, that’s a horror story.

I enjoy things that frighten me. I grew up in the 80’s with the threat of nuclear annihilation from the Soviets. It’s something that has stuck with me growing up. Knowing that fear and chasing it has lead me to write thrillers in the respective classifications I mentioned above.

I grew up next to an air base. The sound of planes taking off and landing is a fond memory of my childhood. There were also the times the base opened to the public, showing off the latest aircraft.

The first time I saw an F-117 Nighthawk was at one of these events. The sleekness of that aircraft combined with it’s dark color and insectlike bumps and ridges, still gets me excited.

Aircraft is a thing that I’ve always been enthralled with and watching them take off from the base as well as building models at home are great childhood memories.

But I’ve gotten off track.

The work part is what comes after the first draft. It’s the editing, rewriting, revising. They used to be things I hated, but the process feels different than it has in a while. I’m actually enjoying this 100k rewrite I’m working on.

But I am getting the work part done and that’s important. Without the work, the project wont be able to stand up, and at the end, when it’s done, it needs to be.

Have a pleasant rest of your week. Stay safe and I’ll see you Friday, where I’ll talk about my love of aircraft a little more.

End of the year thing

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I won’t tell you this year sucked, we know it did.

I did a few things this year that I never expected to do.

I submitted a lot more, published a short story collection, and pushed myself to write things that make me uncomfortable. I also read a whole lot.

But I didn’t quit.

I know there have been a lot of writers who just could not get words on the page this year. I understand that. The year had the opposite effect on me. I wrote more stories than I’ve written in any prior year.

In the next year I plan on writing and submitting more than I have this year, which will be a hell of an accomplishment.

I wasn’t able to work a lot of events as a bartender this year. It put a strain on our finances but good planning by me in the early months of the year sustained us through the year.

I look forward to doing events next year, but I’m so tired of people not being cautious or saying things like, “If it were up to us, you wouldn’t be wearing a mask” or “We’re all friends here, you don’t need to wear that mask.” As if being friends makes the virus go, “oh wait they’re friends, I won’t infect them.” The virus doesn’t care about your family or friendships.

This year I also started to use my whiteboard more. I list when a story is due, how many words it needs to be and who the publisher is.

This has helped me write a lot more and keep my focus on publishing. I haven’t had a story picked up yet, but I’ve come close.

I’ve made a list of submissions until May for short stories as well as for novels I want to publish or submit to agents. I have four novels or novellas I’ll be submitting, self-publishing, or writing in the next 12 months. There will be others that come along, but I know what I need to have done by certain dates and that keeps my head in writing.

I know I have a bit of privilege as my wife works from home and pays our bills with her salary, which allows me to write as much as I do, but if I’m not writing I feel like I’m letting her down.

I will continue to grind, to push myself in directions of horror and other genres that I’m uncomfortable with. I have to push myself because it’s the only way to improve.

Hope you all have a happy and safe New Year’s Eve and I’ll see you tomorrow.

The argument of what genre one should write.

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For the last year I’ve had this argument with myself.

It goes something like this:

“You need to only write _____ genre. You can’t define yourself or finding a following if you write in every genre.”

This damn argument has been driving me crazy.

I write stories in a various genres and yes, they all have some element, though small to the reader, of horror.

I see my favorite horror writers who’ve written in comics, but I wonder if they write stories in other genres and file them only for themselves? Which is something I’ve considered doing.

But I like the stories I’ve written in genres outside of horror. They interest me and if they do that for me I’m sure they would for readers.

Do publish them under a pseudonym? That’s been something my wife and I have discussed. It’s where I’ve been leaning for books outside of horror.

I’ve written fantasy stories that I’ve enjoyed, yes they’re more of the Grimdark variety, but I enjoyed them. I have one due the end of January for an anthology.

I guess writing horror is where I gravitated to because it’s where I’ve always found the most enjoyment. I have an enjoyment of darker things, it’s just who I am.

The argument is getting to a point where I’m putting it in its place.

I write all types of things because I like to read horror, political thrillers, and spy novels.

Those are what I write. The book I wrote from April to May, political/military thriller. The stories I’ve been writing over the last couple of months, horror of various degrees.

I have spy novel I started in September but put it away because of this argument. I hate this argument. It always distracts me from the fact that I’m writing. It doesn’t matter the genre, I’m still writing.

My goal for 2021 is to put this argument to bed and just write. If it ends up as horror great, military/political/spy thriller, fantastic.

But trying to fit myself into one box or another is a worthless effort.

Writing is writing regardless of the genre.

What the hell is this?

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I get a bit weird when I’m starting a new project, my wife attributes this to imposter syndrome.

It’s also that when I’m starting a new project, I feel that I’m abandoning genres that I feel more comfortable writing.

The fact is that I’ve been writing horror for the last year. Following a set of rules when I write and I’ve tossed them and trying something new. Maybe that scares the hell out of me, but I want to write what I enjoy.

The new story has horror elements but is definitely Grimdark fantasy.

I happened upon this story when I wrote a short one that I’m submitting next month. I mentioned that on Monday’s post.

This whole thing started because of that story. But I have no path for it. I have no idea where it’s going and after writing with a beat sheet or outline for the last year, it scares the hell out of me to write another way.

The longer form stories I’ve written this year have been good, better than I’ve written in a while and maybe that’s why doing this scares me.

Let’s get to the meat of this issue.

The stories I’ve written this year have had a formula.

Take a story archetype(clowns, aliens, ghosts), add an element(serving a higher power, seeking truth, helping another), then throw in a thing(graveyard, hospital, guitar) and use those to create a story.

I have done none of those with this project.

I’m sure that’s the problem and I need to think about it more, or I need to pull something from my bags. I have bags where these archetypes, elements, and things are kept. It’s a thing I learned from Writing in the Dark by Tim Waggoner.

I abandoned it for this project and I’m sure that’s why I’m struggling.

I guess I answered my own question.

Sometimes working through by writing it down helps.

Tired, worn, but still writing.

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I’ve been editing and writing my ass off the last couple of weeks.

This morning I got 1500 words on a novel and immediately afterward edited a short story for an anthology due on the 31st.

I have a short story out for a submission which I hope will get a yes.

This weekend I’ll be working my first event since October 24th.

I’m glad to be able work and that have to of doing it during Covid scares me but while my wife’s salary pays the bills, bartending keeps me sane. And my sanity has been frayed as of late.

Writing a novel, submitting short stories for anthologies and helping me wife have been my mainstays since my last event. While I’m looking forward to do an event I’ll be masked and gloves for it.

This year has been unlike any other but I’ve been very productive. I’ve written and submitted more than I planned on and while my short story collection is at the bottom of Amazon’s rankings, I did publish as I promised myself I would.

You have to keep yourself accountable and I’ve done a lot of that this year.

Keep writing my friends.