January 2017 Planning

I haven’t updated here in awhile and we’re a third of the way through the month, but I need to start being accountable again.  So here’s January’s plan though it’s a bit short!

Publishing

Double Helix – Shadows and Secrets

Editing/Formatting

Double Helix – Emergence anthology

Zero Drafts/Revisions

  • Not Alone Project short story
  • Witches & Warriors short story

Adding to the Process

With most of my stories, I don’t make notes after I’ve finished them. There’s really no need to since most of them are one-shot stories. This is a good thing because I don’t have reams and reams of notes I’ll never use again. It’s a bad thing because I do have a series building up and the only notes I have are on the individual stories.

There’s a simple solution – take a time out from writing those stories and create a story “bible.”  Television shows and existing fiction franchises keep story bibles so that important facts, events, and characters are portrayed accurately no matter who the author is who is writing a particular story. It’s something I have to add to my existing process.

So that’s what I’m doing right now. My Double Helix series started out as one book. Then I had an idea for another one, and a collection of short stories about how each of the members joined Helix. Now the series notes are up to six novels and six short story collections.  There are too many details to keep straight without a little help.

So characters, locations, organizations, timeline notes, and other details for the entire series are going into one place. I can update it when a new detail comes up. I can refer to it when I’m not certain about something. I can give my beta readers the relevant parts of it so they can make sure I’m consistent with descriptions and motivations.

It does take time away from writing the actual stories, but it will also make things quicker when I need to remember details. Here’s to learning and using new information.

Changing Gears

Now that the work is mostly done on the anthology (other than marketing), I’m having to change gears. I’m finding it a more difficult thing to do than I’d expected.

It’s not just moving past the anthology to the next project. It’s figuring out what that next project is. It’s determining just how much havoc the anthology caused to my plan for the year. Because it was completely unplanned and unexpected, I had to drop things I was working on.

Where do I pick up? Where do I start trying to get back on track?

I also have some major decisions to make about what method of publishing I want to pursue with some of my stories. Do I still want to pursue traditional publishing for some of them? Or do I want to self-publish all of them?

How do I market them? How do I build up an audience? A mailing list? What can I offer readers to sign up for my mailing list or visit my site?

How do get back in the right mindset to work on the projects I put aside?

These are some of the things I’m struggling with right now. It may take some time, but I will figure them out.

August 2015

Here are my planned projects for August – Zero draft and revision work in the same month is probably ambitious, but I have a request for the revision and I want to work on something new too.

Zero Drafts

  • Clockwork Empire – 80,000-90,000

Revisions

  • Dark and Light – 45,000 of 90,000

Flash Fiction/Short Stories

  • None

Blog Posts

  • here – four to six
    • August Plan
    • July Wrapup
    • The World of the Double Helix
  • Wandering at the Shadows’ Edge – one
  • Find the Soul – one

 

A Taste of a Work in Progress

As a thank you for coming over to take a look at my site, I’m posting a snippet from one of my works-in-progress. Though my first releases will be science fiction, this is a clockwork/steampunk story that I hope to finish and revise soon. This is from my Clockwork Empire universe. Let me know what you think.

 

A Rainy Courtyard
(Or How the Troubles Became Apparent)

Her foot slid on the wet pavers of the courtyard as she rounded the corner from the street. The university courtyard was empty. Classes were about to start but the dark, dank drizzle had driven everyone, even the students inside already. A hand brushed the wall of the laboratory building and Kia pushed off it, regaining her balance without slowing down.

She couldn’t afford to be late, not again.

She skidded to a stop as a small bot trundled out in front of her. A sidestep and a pivot on her heel pointed her back in the right direction and with barely a pause she was off running again. The bells hadn’t tolled the hour yet, and she wasn’t late until they did.

A metal pincer snatched at her as she rounded the corner to the lecture hall, but Kia gave it a push as she gathered her cloak in her off hand. The cloak snagged on the bot the arm belonged to, but came free with little more than a shake. She was through the door and out of the rain before the bot could try again.

Kia slowed to a fast walk. Getting caught running in the halls would be almost as bad as being late and it wouldn’t do to arrive at class out of breath and disheveled. The boys could do it, but science forbid that she, the lone female in her class, should. It wasn’t “lady-like” after all. Which made absolutely no sense, since nothing the students did in the course of their studies could be considered ladylike. But that was the way it was and it was no use complaining about it or wishing it different.

Her hands unconsciously smoothed her her and skirts as she walked toward the large, dark stained door of the lecture room. Closed of course, even though class hadn’t yet started. She wouldn’t be able to sneak in this time.

Kia paused and took a deep breath as she laid her hand on the door handle. One second, no more, then she pulled the door open and stepped inside. As the door swung closed, the faint sound of the hour bells could be heard.

“I see you made it on time, Miss Hargrave, if barely.” The patronizing, nasal voice came from the front of the room and Kia felt her face flush hotly.

“I’m sorry, professor. Someone left their mechanical experiments in the courtyard and they slowed me down.” There was no point in telling Professor Jergen that the bots had probably been set to wait for her and try to slow her. He would just attribute it to the practical jokes that almost all the students played on each other as they mastered new skills.

Kia stood, waiting for his attention to pass so that she could slip into one of the empty seats. She was uncomfortable under his beady, oh-so-superior gaze and she had a feeling that the professor knew it. He let her stand there for another minute before shaking his head ever so slightly. “I’m sure that whoever left their toys in the courtyard will clean them up, Miss Hargrave.” He turned away, moving to the slate board at the front of the room. “Now that we are all present and accounted for, I do believe that we can begin today’s lesson. Listen carefully as you will need to understand this information for tomorrow’s experiments in the laboratory.”

Kia slipped into a seat and glanced around the room. They weren’t all there, despite what the professor said. At least 2 of the boys were missing. Most likely they’d stayed home. Both were from the upper levels and could well afford to miss a class, financially and in standing.

Ah well, it wasn’t anything she wasn’t well used to by now. The room flashed bright for a split second as lightened struck the courtyard outside. With any luck, it fried one of those bots, she thought. Even in the lecture room, the sound of the wind and rain picking up were audible, and Kia smiled slightly as she leaned back in her chair and took her notebook from her satchel. Whoever those bots belonged to was going to be cold and unhappy when they went to retrieve them.